The Zone

Some thoughts, because it will not leave me alone. I watched Stalker, a movie directed by Tarkovsky. It’s a 1979 film. Those are the facts. From there it turns into something else, a something else that is beyond difficult to capture and explain.

I understand why many people dislike the film, hate it. Make a disgusting noise and an ugly face if the subject of the film comes up in conversation with them. Or if they write reviews. That is by far the easiest way to deal with it. Because it is ugly. It is awful. And there is something around the edges, something that rings a distant bell. Something that intends to pull you in and suck you into the quicksand of yourself.

And then there are those of us who are taken by the film. Captured and made frightened by it, by the Truth of it. At the end of the film, almost the end, the Climax of the film, the men who have struggled through to the Doorway, there is a choice. If they walk through the Doorway to the final reward, they will have their most secret desire, their wish fulfilled. But therein lies the rub. It is their Secret Desire, their innermost desire granted. They do not get to choose the wish, to say what they want. No. They are granted that which lies hidden within the depths of self. The desire that they themselves have never looked at. What is it? What lies deep inside, buried by time and choices of the self that lives in the world? What would be the apotheosis? Who could possibly dare to walk through the Doorway and see themselves for what they truly want? Isn’t that then, who we really are?

No one walks through the door.

I don’t walk through it either. As the film evolves and unravels the Zone, it is laid out so that that we are taken along with it. It is slow and moving. It is revealing as it takes us, puzzled as the men are, and looking for signs that will tell us we are not lost. But we are. More and more we depend upon the Stalker. And more and more we have no compass.

It is not clear whether or not we are within someone’s mind, or even our own, or if this is a world somewhere. But one thing is clear, if you go along you will discover that the Zone does exist. And the question becomes, do you really want to know your secret desire? What is it? Name it. Can you name it?

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