well, Andrei Rublev and Mirror are in my top 4 too, and i love early Wenders road movies too.
Stalker stays with you... I've been chewing on it a bit, and I'm sure it's no blinding insight but I found I read it as Stalker was the Priest, the Zone was the realm of the invisible that the clerical classes help the punters navigate through, and the room was heaven/nirvana. In the attack on religion from science (The Professor) and godless media (The Writer) Stalker decries them destroying hope, even if he knows no-one has been made happy once in the room. So even if heaven is a lie, isn't false hope better than no hope?
I'll be digesting it for a while yet though...
and the fact he made it twice because they stuffed up the developing of the negative print makes the film even more remarkable.
The Mirror and Ivan's Childhood are both in the box set I have so I'll explore those when I'm next in a Russian mood.
thanks for the insights.
Sorted Stalker... the default setting was enlish voice over, but I was able to change that and get subtitles in the set up option... which I should have looked for first. D'oh!
As to the film, it's wonderful... starts brilliantly and gets a little flabby in the middle though I felt... but pretty spellbinding. I'd currently rate it after Andrei Rublev and Solaris... but it's a keeper.