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The best of BBC Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme Free Thinking - featuring in-depth interviews and debates with artists, scientists and public figures.


Free Thinking - Landmark: Tarkovsky's Stalker.

April 19th, 2016

Episode 1129 of 1201 episodes

In a special Landmark edition, Matthew Sweet discusses Tarkovsky's 1979 film Stalker with the director Sophie Fiennes, the journalist Konstantin Von Eggert, whose family knew Tarkovsky, film critic Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, the writer Geoff Dyer, and the academic and former tour guide in the Chernobyl Zone Dr Nicholas Rush Cooper from Durham University. Stalker tells the story of three men - Writer, Professor, and Stalker. We are never quite sure who Stalker is, or what he represents, but it's his job to lead Writer and Professor on a journey into a mysterious region called The Zone. At the heart of The Zone is a room in which all wishes come true. Based on the novel Roadside Picnic, by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, Stalker is a kind of Science Fiction film with all the Science Fiction stripped out. Geoff Dyer notes that "Stalker has always invited allegorical readings, and since the film has something of the quality of prophecy, these readings are not confined to events that had occurred by the time the film was made." Is Stalker about the end of Communism? Does it prefigure the Chernobyl disaster? There are many possibilities, but the film remains mysterious. Producer: Laura Thomas

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