Andrei Tarkovsky on Stalker

Interview Andrei Tarkovsky Talking in "Cencrastus" 1981 (2). Pol. trans. Jadwiga Kobylinska.

If my intent had been to make a film about life in the Soviet Union, I would have made that kind of film. I'm saying this because many people think that Stalker is a story about life in the USSR. I don't understand how such interpretations arise. In the review I have in front of me they say that the film is about life in a concentration camp. * I don't know where this kind of interpretation comes from. When we were making the film we had a much more important goal in mind. And I won't even mention the fact that nobody would have given me a single kopeck had I attempted to shoot a film on that subject. There are issues some people cannot understand.

I think film can be as refined as any other art form. I have no doubt most of us would agree that Shakespeare was a genius. At the same time there would exist among us a great variety of opinions on the significance of Hamlet. At any rate, actors who performed in that play, directors who staged it, and critics who wrote about it say about this subject many different things. A complete agreement in perception of any work of art would be contradicting the very essence of art.

Stalker as an allegory of police state? Opinions expressed in that article surprised me a lot. I have no idea what they are writing about there. When you see the film you'll understand why police are presented the way they are. The police guard the Zone which our heroes are trying to penetrate illegally. There is nothing in this film beyond what you can see on screen. We had no ideas regarding some hidden meanings. There is nothing symbolic in the scene with the police, there is no allegory there. I am more interested in revealing life itself than in playing games with primitive symbolisms.  end block

[* Richard Combs, Stalker, "Monthly Film Bulletin" 1981 (564), pp. 10–11]

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