Thursday, November 05, 2015


I saw a 35mm print of Tarkovsky's Stalker a few weeks ago, deep in the mazy bowels of the Barbican Centre. Based on the novella Roadside Picnic, by Boris and Arkady Strugasky, its narrative follows a stalker who guides two clients through the forbidden Zone, an area imprinted by some unspecified event, to a room that is said to grant the true desires of those who enter it. Not their spoken, conscious wishes or ambitions, but something much more dangerous: their heart's desire. It's a slow-paced meditative film that leaves the interpretation of much of its dreamlike story and images to the viewer, and like a dream its atmosphere clings to you for some while afterwards. Whenever I think of the wretched Stalker, who keeps returning to the Zone even though it has made a ruin of his life, I'm reminded of a couple of lines from T.H. White's The Once and Future King (also, amongst other things, the story of a quest): 'The miracle was that he had been allowed to do a miracle. And ever, says Mallory, Sir Lancelot wept, as he had been a child that had been beaten.'


Anonymous William Donelson said...

Mallory is wonderful. Have you seen the wood carvings in the Queen's Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster? Many years ago my company did a virtual tour of the palace, including thousands of pictures and narrations, and seventy-five 360° panoramas. Part of this project is online now, here.

The first of the wood carvings in that room is here:

February 26, 2016 10:19 pm  
Anonymous William Donelson said...

* sorry

is the site home for the Palace of Westminster virtual tour, not Taj Mahal.

February 26, 2016 10:21 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts