plaidflannel’s review published on Letterboxd:
Even in being common
Look how important he is
Look how important she is
Do I want to help to help
or to have helped?
No amount of aid I give will make me the healer
I want to be
but all I see...
is constant progression
away from the Source;
I want my attachment to it
to prove its significance
A large pain crawls...
a hard rain falls...
the harsh terrain calls...
The first time I viewed Stalker, it reminded me (initially weirdly) of those conversations you have in adulthood with people of comparable upbringing, but a staggeringly different "end result," at least currently. We all know how geography, economy, pedigree, and many other factors influence one's beliefs, one's spiritual standing or lack thereof. What do you make of those people who did grow up like you, but have "seen the world" or have been "enlightened by education," or "came out of their shell"? What's your excuse now? asks Stalker. Why do you still have a heart so burdened in the 'wrong' places? Why do you still treat life like a gift? Why is your life full of strife?
We can't put ourselves in each other's lives, fully understanding how we got to where we are, but maybe this is where those common upbringings come in handy. Those differences in adult paths can possibly, just possibly, be reverse engineered to find the cause of the divergences.
Countless encounters I've had with people who call my current life their past lives has gotten me to think very deeply, reflectively, and to be quite honest fearfully. It became clear early on that life isn't something we'll have planned out, with the challenge being fitting the world into that plan... The fact is we are not the ones with a plan and all that you hold true is going to have to be reconstructed, reevaluated, resurfaced, and born on your back for longer than convenient.
Something keeps telling me it's worth it.
Not a faint whisper, unable to rise above life's clamor.
I actually hear a shout, serving as a repetitive reminder as well as a fresh call to action, reinvigorating me and somehow reinforcing those inexplicable, intangible urges to keep living life and to join the chorus of sacred music urging others to do the same.
The question is not whether you might feel passion at all, says Stalker but what to make of the fact you cannot and will not be guaranteed the support of the world like you want.
Isn't that what we want? A guarantee?
Here they are—the Professor, the Writer, and the Stalker—venturing into the world and into themselves, with the former two desiring to see the world and self as one and the same. Wouldn't that provide comfort? An answer? "We are here because we are here"? The fact is the Stalker's path is not preferred. How can it be if it's not understood? They are tired of hearing him reiterate the risks.
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many"
Humans reduce things. Looking at the vast world and the ever more vast universe does not make us feel big or significant in any way. And so we confine the world, treating its rules that are an expression of its beauty as a replacement for it. Everything becomes a product, an explanation, a minuscule piece without a whole. The idea of something bigger than us—an idea, a being, a state, a unity—becomes more and more threatening and dismissible. The falcon deafened to the falconer long ago.
The Stalker knows his way is not devised for comfort: the reality at hand is sorrowful and harsh. His tears of joy are an effect of striking humane circumstance, not the immediate remedy that was never promised by the truth. The truth hurts far worse.
"The flowers are blooming, but they've no scent."
The Professor and the Writer persist skeptically. Why? Because they're intellectual. To deny such is folly. The Stalker repeats just how magnificent the men are: he's not trying to discredit their expanded minds, even as the Zone threatens it. The two men are storehouses of pride. It is not their intellect that puts hesitance in every step, it's the arrogance that comes with it. Little do they know they are just as valuable to the Zone as the Stalker is.
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
The trek is lonely in company, where the rules of the natural world are bent, in the place called the Zone. The Stalker's cross to bear is the heaviest burden he's ever carried. he is already acquainted with this realm, and may not have the outside-inward revelation he seeks to facilitate in others. The whole thing is familiar to him. Why may he not enter the room? Has he already entered in it, and his deepest cherished wish is to be one who does not need to?
Everyone has had a moment where they look at the world, completely dissociated from it all, and for a moment you can see with perfect eyes what is wrong. Stalker captured this moment, this era and facet of my life, in the protagonist's disdain for apathy, his contempt for ambivalence, his discontent for complacence.
This is a dangerous place, as his separation from the world's unbelief has the potential to make him hardened just as his peers...
...or he can maintain the humility and love his very burden demands, in a desperation that can create a unity, a revelation, a reason to gaze at the effects of the Zone that he can feel.
"You must become like children"