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Stalker (free)

  • Vilas Hall 821 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film is laced with dread. Tix/info

One of the most enigmatic directors in cinema history, Andrei Tarkovsky managed to create several masterpieces in his lifetime. He wasn't one for subtlety, or brevity for that matter. But the nearly three-hour Stalker (1979) is a must-see, and fortunately, this screening is taking place after the beloved Wisconsin Film Festival, so you will have some time to recharge your batteries before strapping in for this esoteric dreamscape.

In a dystopian, futuristic wasteland, a mysterious object fell from the sky and destroyed a small Russian village. The area was referred to as The Zone and anyone who went near it never returned. It is forbidden to go near The Zone but for a fee, one can follow a "stalker" who can guide them through the area. The path is not easy and there are several dangers along the way but within The Zone is another peculiar Room where one's wishes can be granted.

The story benefits from Tarkovsky's skill at creating ambiance and a sense of dread and loathing. There is always a sense of foreboding that lies just beneath the surface here. The surrealism and the horror of the human condition interplay with one another in a way that challenges, revulses, and engrosses the viewer at the same time. Stalker screens here in a new 4K DCP restoration. —Edwanike Harbour