After setting a record for highest-grossing opening weekend for a re-release in the history of Film Society of Lincoln Center, Stalker comes to the Jacob Burns Film Center for one week only and should be considered mandatory viewing for all film lovers.
Once considered a white whale for serious cinephiles—tracking down a quality copy of the film for public exhibition has long proved difficult—Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker is back on the big screen in a vivid new digital restoration, courtesy of Mosfilm. One of the most immersive and rarefied experiences in the history of cinema, Stalker embarks on a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic post-apocalyptic landscape. A hired guide—the titular “Stalker”—leads a writer and a scientist into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting the science-fiction novel Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, and making what would be his final Soviet feature, Tarkovsky created a challenging and visually stunning work that is further enriched by this restoration. At once a religious allegory, a reflection of contemporary political anxieties, and a meditation on film itself—among many other interpretations—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.