The Grail as symbolic quest in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker

Elliott, Andrew B.R. (2015) The Grail as symbolic quest in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. In: The Holy Grail on Film: Essays on the Cinematic Quest. McFarland, Jefferson, N.C., pp. 187-201. ISBN 9780786477852, 9781476620534

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At first glance, Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker, like a number of other films in this collection of essays, would seem to be a perfect fit as a kind of allegorical Grail film. The story of three men on a quest for a supernatural goal matches both a Vulgate and a Malorian model of the Grail. Their boarding of a tiny vessel which mysteriously carries them across a gulf into a secluded and isolated area, set apart from the banality of modern life, resembles various descriptions of questors’ travels across mysterious waters to an unnamed land. The obstacles and barriers that assail the three questors seem to require the sorts of exegetical interpretation which nearby monks and hermits like Nacien might offer to our Grail heroes. The free interflow between dreams and waking life infuses the whole quest with a sense of oneiric, ethereal and, above all, supernatural forces; these forces control and guide their actions, with the result that actions in the liminal dream world have as much significance as those in waking life, which recalls the extended dream sequences of Malory’s Grail heroes. The use of fragmented, but interconnected, images and motifs like the wolf, falling water, or lingering close-ups of the Stalker all reflect Hatto’s identification of the legend as a composite assortment of fragments rather than a canonical text. (1980: 7)

Keywords:Arthurian studies, Arthurian film, Russian cinema
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
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ID Code:20057
Deposited On:20 Jan 2016 16:29

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