Let Tarkovsky take you to ‘the quietest place in the world’
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In Zona, Geoff Dyer’s book about Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 masterpiece Stalker, he tells the story of the director responding to criticism of the film’s slow opening. No, said Tarkovsky, it should be even slower – so “anyone who had walked into the wrong theatre would have time to leave before the action got under way”.
Tarkovsky’s hypnotic filmmaking asks a lot from its audiences, but gives even more in return. Stalker is an epic philosophical quest threaded through sci-fi: the Stalker here is a guide from the grinding, monochrome city into the forbidden ‘Zone’ outside, searching for a mysterious, wish-granting room.
Melbourne Cinémathèque’s three night retrospective also includes Solaris (1972), The Mirror (1975), and lesser-seen works like The Steamroller and The Violin (1961).