Stalker

  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Producers: Aleksandra Demidova A
  • Writers: Andrei Tarkovsky, based on the novel by Arkadi Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko

The setting of the film is a tiny town on the outskirts of “The Zone”, a wilderness area which has been cordoned off by the government. The film’s main character, the Stalker, works as a guide to bring people in and out of the Zone, to a room which is said to grant “the deepest, innermost” wishes. Residual effects of an unnamed previous occurrence have transformed an otherwise mundane rural area scattered with ruined buildings into an area where the normal laws of physics no longer apply.

The film begins with the Stalker in his home with his wife and daughter. His wife emotionally urges him not to leave her again to go into the Zone due to the legal consequences, but he ignores her pleas. The Stalker goes to a bar, where he meets the Writer and the Professor, who will be his clients on his next trip into the Zone. Writer and Professor are not identified by name—the Stalker prefers to refer to them in this way. The three of them evade the military blockade that guards the Zone using a jeep—attracting gunfire from the guards as they go—and then ride into the heart of the Zone on a railway handcar. The camera follows their passage from urban setting to rural, and from the darkness required for their infiltration of the zone, to light.

The next scene shows the Stalker, Writer, and Professor back in the bar. Stalker’s wife and child arrive. A mysterious black dog that followed the three men through the Zone is now in the bar with them. His wife asks where he got it; Stalker says that it got attached to him and he couldn’t leave it in the Zone. As the Stalker leaves the bar with his family and the dog, we see that his child, nick-named “Monkey” (who earlier dialogue has suggested is affected by some form of genetic mutation as a “child of the Zone”) is crippled, and cannot walk unaided. The film ends with Monkey alone in the kitchen. She recites a poem (written by Fyodor Tyutchev), and then lays her head on the table and appears to telekinetically push three drinking glasses across the table, with one falling to the floor. As the third glass begins to move, a train passes by (as in the beginning of the film), causing the entire apartment to shake, leaving the audience to wonder whether it was Monkey or the vibrations from the train that moved the glasses.[3]

Zerkalo

  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Producers: Erik Waisberg
  • Writers: Aleksandr Misharin, Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History
  • Actors: Margarita Terekhova, Ignat Daniltsev, Larisa Tarkovskaya, Alla Demidova, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Tamara Ogorodnikova

In a larger context, The Mirror depicts the thoughts and emotions of Alexei (Ignat Daniltsev) and the world surrounding him. The structure of the film is discontinuous and non-chronological, without a conventional plot, and combines childhood memories with newsreel footage. The film switches between three different times, the prewar time, the wartime and the postwar 1960s.

The film starts with Alexei’s son Ignat (also played by Ignat Daniltsev) switching on a television set and watching the examination of a stutterer by a physician. In the next scene, set in the countryside in the prewar time, Alexei’s mother Maria (Margarita Terekhova) is talking with a passing-by doctor (Anatoli Solonitsyn). The exterior and the interior of the house are shown and a barn on fire. In a dream sequence Maria is washing her hair. Set in the postwar time, in the 1960s Alexei is talking with his mother Maria on the phone, while the interior of a house is shown. Switching to the prewar time, the mother Maria is shown at her work as a proofreader at the printing press. She is worrying about a mistake she may have overlooked, but is comforted by her colleague Lisa (Alla Demidova).

The Mirror draws heavily on Tarkovsky’s own childhood. Childhood memories such as the evacuation from Moscow to the countryside during the war, the withdrawn father and his own mother, who worked as a proofreader in a printing press feature prominently in the film.

Andrey Rublyov

  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Producers: Tamara Ogorodnikova
  • Writers: Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Genres: Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko, Nikolai Sergeyev, Nikolai Burlyayev, Irma Raush

Andrei Rublev is divided into seven chapters and a prologue and an epilogue only loosely related to the main film. The main film charts the life of the great icon painter through several episodes of his life. The background is 15th century Russia, a turbulent period characterized by fighting between rival princes and the Tatar invasions.

The film’s prologue shows the preparations for a hot air balloon ride. The balloon takes off from the roof a church, with a man named Yefim (Nikolay Glazkov) roped beneath the balloon, at the very moment of arrival of an ignorant mob trying to thwart the flight. The man is highly delighted by the sight from the air, but can not prevent a crash landing. Yefim is the first of several creative characters, representing the daring escapist, whose hopes are easily crushed.

The Jester, Summer 1400: Andrei (Anatoly Solonitsyn), Danil (Nikolai Grinko) and Kirill (Ivan Lapikov) are wandering monks, looking for work. The three represent different creative characters. Andrei is the observer, a humanistic artist who searches for the good in people and wants to inspire and not frighten. Danil is withdrawn and resigned, and not as bent on creativity as on self-realization. Kirill lacks talent, yet strives to achieve prominence. He is jealous, self-righteous, very intelligent and perceptive. The three have just left the Andronikov Monastery, where they have lived many years, heading to Moscow. During a heavy rain they seek shelter in a barn, where a group of villagers is entertained by a jester (Rolan Bykov). The jester, or skomorokh, is a bitterly sarcastic enemy of the state and the Church, who is earning a living with his scathing and obscene social commentary and by making fun of the Boyars. He ridicules the monks as they come in, and after some time Kirill leaves unnoticed. Shortly, the skomorokh is picked up by a group of soldiers, knocked out headfirst against a tree and taken away.

The epilogue is the only part of the film in color and shows details of several of Andrei Rublev’s icons. The icons are shown in the following order: Enthroned Christ, Twelve Apostles, The Annunciation, Twelve Apostles, Jesus entering Jerusalem, Birth of Christ, Enthroned Christ, Transfiguration of Jesus, Resurrection of Lazarus, The Annunciation, Resurrection of Lazarus, Birth of Christ, Trinity, Archangel Michael, Paul the Apostle, The Redeemer. The final scene crossfades from the icons and shows four horses at a river during rain.