Considered by many to be Tarkovsky’s magnum opus, this genre-defying evocation of a decayed post-industrial society is a brooding muse on human desires and the ambition we employ in order to achieve them.
In a future world that has been seemingly ravaged by war and poverty there exists a myth of hope amongst the people – a forbidden place known only as the Zone. An area of alien traps and treasures, at the heart of which lies a room which, if reached, one is granted their innermost desires. Into this mysterious landscape a shaven headed guide known as Stalker conducts two pilgrims - a writer and a scientist - navigating the treacherous and confounding path that leads them to the centre, while along the way they ponder their desires and the true worth of what they wish for.
An epic and frequently challenging inquiry into freedom and faith, Tarkovsky’s second take on the science fiction genre is a poetic, highly allegorical film that explores the purpose of art, as well as human desires and what we really need to be a human. Hypnotic, arresting, and gorgeous, it’s rightly recognised as a masterpiece due to its deviation from the genre’s typical aesthetics, instead playing out like some dark and noble melodrama, full of hidden meaning.