One of Andrei Tarkovsky's masterpieces, the movie Stalker is based on the science fiction novel Roadside Picnic. The movie itself is packed full of powerful imagery, as the man called the Stalker leads a small group into the heart of the Zone.
The Zone is a deadly quarantined area in which resides the Wishgranter, a room of unknown origin in which all wishes are granted, but at a high price. The Zone functions as a living organism, warning and repelling all those who intrude by creating anomalies, tears in time and space itself which defy all logic and common sense. One of those is the so-called ‘Meat Grinder’.
As the Stalker travels on throughout the Zone with the Professor and Writer, both of whom seemingly tired of life, the Zone manifests itself in the form of a dog and approaches them, laying beside the Stalker on a small patch of moss in a torn-down, roofless structure at which the company was resting, leaving a very powerful image etched into my memory.
The Stalker. Photo: Mosfilm
The movie is very philosophical in its nature, touching various themes such as revenge and morality, and the plights of the modern man.
The trio passes the Meat Grinder unscathed, solely because of their lack of malevolent thoughts and their strong ethics, reaching the Wishgranter only to realize their wishes are in spite of themselves, and would not in fact bring them peace - they make no wishes.
I absolutely adored the film, the endless despair felt by the Stalker as he faces the Zone again, not as an assailant but as a humbled, somewhat frightened person yielding to the nature and the forces of the Zone in order to get a glimpse of the Wishgranter again and again, never making a wish himself, as he is well aware of the price a wish coming true has.