One of the possum images I made won a little prize in the Centre for Contemporary Photography Salon exhibition, which is on show in Melbourne until December 14.
STALKER - ANDREI TARKOVSKY, 1979
Tarkovsky’s masterpiece is an epic voyage placed somewhere between science fiction and philosophical art film. The story that has resonated and rippled through culture since its release comes from the novel Roadside Picnic written by the Strugatsky brothers (Boris and Arkady Strugatsky collaborated on much of their work) who also adapted the screenplay for the film.
The story centres on the character the Stalker whose job is to lead people through a military blockade and into an area called ‘The Zone’ inside the zone is a room that can fulfil the desires of those who enter it. The Stalker in this instance is leading two men, ‘The Writer’ and ‘The Professor’. What follows is a voyage into the zone with its surreal rooms and tunnels, as the men journey towards their goal their real intentions come to light. All the while being tagged by a black dog, the Stalker warns the men of the unpredictability of the room and what happened to the previous stalker, Porcupine.
The film is masterfully woven and cleverly shot, however not without great difficulties. The original footage was shot over a year only to be found useless as the Kodak stock used was experimental and was developed incorrectly. This led to much feuding between Tarkovsky and his original cinematographer, Goergy Rerberg, who left the project. Tarkovsky became disenfranchised with the project as did the Soviet film boards who wanted it abandoned. Needless to say it was resurrected by the director and new cinematographer Aleksandr Knyazhinsky and the project was completed. It has been alleged that the original film shot and the version we know today are completely different. A lot of the film was shot in and around Tallinn, Estonia.
The location where much of the film was shot was near a chemical plant that was pumping poisons out into the river, as Tarkovsky, his wife and one of the actors died of cancer, there is some speculation that this plant may have led to this. Amazing film.
"Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, which deals with sexual perversion in fascist Italy, scared me so much that I was sick for 14 days. Completely wiped out. To this day, I haven’t drummed up the courage to watch it again. Never again did I look into such a deep abyss and rarely have I learned so much.” — Michael Haneke