Small Screen Quarantine: Stalker (1979)

“May everything come true. May they believe. And may they laugh at their passions. For what they call passion is not really the energy of the soul, but merely friction between the soul and the outside world. But, above all, may they believe in themselves and become as helpless as children. For softness is great and strength is worthless. When a man is born, he is soft and pliable. When he dies, he is strong and hard. When a tree grows, it is soft and pliable. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Flexibility and softness are the embodiment of life. That which has become hard shall not triumph.”

I don’t know if there’s anything else I can say that isn’t in that quote from the Stalker himself, and at the same time I’m not entirely sure that this is the point of the movie. Forty + years on and the point remains elusive. I’ve hesitated to read or watch any analysis of Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece. The hesitation may very well be born of fear that it will turn out to be the opposite of what I’ve felt or maybe at some point believed. The only thing I really know is that the film resonates within me in some way. Any exact meaning though is as tricky and elusive of any answers I’ve ever sought in anything and in life in general. My instinct though is to let it all remain a mystery, because if that mystery was to be solved, then what else would there be to maintain the sense of wonder and magic that’s been nearly lost so many times. I want to continue to have these moments of pause when the wonder of it all remains, like walking into the woods as a child, when that same expanse of woods behind my house could be anywhere in The Universe.

That’s all I want really, to be like a child again. To feel wonder. And maybe a little bit of fear. Not too much fear. Just enough to maintain the mystery. Like anything could happen and that it could be purely magical. A world of elves and fairies, and maybe even gods and monsters. Who knows? A fairytale place where anything could happen but I would always triumph.


Stalker always triggers the mystery in me. It does remind me of wandering out when I was a child. Railroad tracks. Abandoned houses. Wasted cars rusting away in the brush. That strange sense that life had moved on there, and what was left? Ghosts? I don’t know.

But anything was possible. Dreams could come true. Good or bad, they could come true.

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