Andrei Tarkovsky was one of the Soviet Union’s finest filmmakers—and that’s what got him exiled from his own country toward the end of his brief life. His belief that making movies was the same thing as painting—read his dense book of film theory, Sculpting in Time, for an idea of his manifesto—ultimately means that if you don’t like what you see in the first 5 minutes of any of his films, you won’t like the next 2 ½ hours (they're all long, with epic panning shots).

You may have heard of Solaris (reimagined by Steven Soderbergh in 2002 and starring George Clooney), which Tarkovsky called his response to what he believed to be Stanley Kubrick’s lackluster exploration of the topic of space in 2001. But one of his most beloved films, Stalker, is a mysterious, beautiful, extremely slow film about a “stalker”—a Russian spiritual guide of sorts, not a creepy guy in a raincoat—who takes a writer and a professor into the mysterious “zone,” a sort of existential wormhole on earth where people are granted their innermost desires. Sound lofty? It is. But with patience, this can be one of the most fantastic visual experiences you will ever encounter. Tarkovsky was a stubborn man when it came to his vision, but that vision was a true force to be reckoned with. This special screening will utilize a 35mm print imported from Russia and a talk after the film with Gregory Verkhovsky, Tarkovsky’s assistant cameraman for the film.

Stalker (1979)
Saturday, July 30
7:30 p.m.
Siskel Film Center

164 North State St., Chicago