Montreal Film Journal


Ivan's Childhood

Andrei Rublev


The Mirror

Stalker 96
[ "'What was it? A meteorite? A visit of inhabitants of the cosmic abyss? One way or another, our small country has seen the birth of a miracle - the Zone. We immediately sent troops there. They haven't come back. Then we surrounded the Zone with police cordons... Perhaps, that was the right thing to do. Though, I don't know...'
- From an interview with Nobel Prize winner Professor Wallace."

Sepia-toned cinematography. A lot of long, meticulously composed shots. The most amazing locations. Extended stretches that are dialogue-free, but that make a captivating use of ambient sound (trains, mostly). Other scenes are full of dialogue about all kinds of fascinating things (truth, inspiration, conscious and subconscious desires). Actors with interesting faces, full of character and personality even though they're only referred to as Stalker, Writer, Professor. We're already riveted before we even get to the Zone, about 35 minutes into the film, and this Russian art film turns to color (like when Dorothy lands in Oz in Victor Fleming's film!) and full-on fantastical/metaphysical. From that point forwards, this is one of these extremely rare films where you have absolutely no idea where it's going from one moment to the next. Is this an adventure movie? Sci-fi? A philosophical or religious allegory? I'll let you discover for yourself, but one thing's for sure: this is a masterpiece. ]


The Sacrifice