Andrei Tarkovsky is one of those Big Deal Filmmakers that inspires endless debates among film students, an artist that if you aren’t familiar with his work, you can’t truly call yourself a cinephile. This is the kind of thing that can scare off a casual viewer, but rest easy, you can enjoy Stalker
. Well – not easy, exactly; this film is pretty scary on its face, and terrifying when you transpose its speculations to our own current reality. Stalker, made in 1979, is based on the Russian novel Roadside Picnic
, a straightforward sci-fi tale based around a mysteriously contaminated and off-limits Zone. (And it’s pre-Chernobyl, pre-Southern Reach trilogy.) It’s a beautiful film in a newly restored print with brighter color transfer; the Zone is lush and green and threatening, full of overgrown forests, waterfalls, abandoned train tracks and stray animals. The subtle sense of menace swells after you emerge from the visual spell, though, and stop to consider the implications for our world, the real world, where the threats of climate change and energy deregulation can stand in for alien invasion with the same toxic results.
7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 | The Gallery at Avalon Island, 39 S. Magnolia Ave. | avalongallery.org