CBR10Bingo – The Book was Better?
I’ll by reviewing the book and then talking about the movie a little.
This book is written by the Russian authors Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. The brothers were active in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and according to the book’s introduction struggled with their sense of place within Soviet Russia and within the Russian culture industry of the time. I have talked before about reading literature produced from within “enemy” cultures (enemies to the world of Western Europe and the US) and this is a strictly 20th century problem, since if I read say Les Miserables or Nietzsche I don’t very well have to decide whose side I’m on regards the Franco-Prussian War before deciding whether or not I like the book. And further, given my antagonism to American Imperialist tendencies and discourse, I have gladly read plenty of anti-US literature written by say Vietnamese writers. Etc etc etc. But with Russian literature of the 20th century, like say German literature between 1933-1945, it’s hard to separate the literature from the regime itself except with it’s clearly critical and antagonistic to the regime. In my review of Doctor Zhivago, this orientation is clear both in the themes of the book but also in the history of its publication. Pro-Soviet literature is absolute garbage, both from a moral and an aesthetic sense, no different from avidly pro-America books and films like The Ugly American or The Green Berets. But at the same time, there’s a tension if a writer who is not ostracized like Pasternak or exiled like Nabokov (who rarely wrote anything remotely anti-Soviet) is writing “regular” literature.
So this book exists within that tension and the result is a very interesting world-building, but not one that I found super-compelling in terms of story. Earth has been invaded or infected or infiltrated or something by an external force. The result is several “zones” around the planet where increased radiation and energy fields as leftover technology now being put to use by the various governments and science organizations around the world have completely transformed our sense of existence. The novel takes place among this world and tackles different stories of different figures within it. One such is of a “stalker” who takes on scavenging missions within the zones. The film deals with one of these missions, which comprises the last section of the novel.
Film – Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky
I fight this movie so much. I keep finding it boring and fighting the first hour or so. After several attempts, I finally got through it, but I struggled.