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What's your personal interpretation of the ending to Stalker?


over 4 years ago


Th interpretation that the three characters not going into the room stems from a the way people “sabotage themselves” from success, fulfillment, etc. is interesting and a valid one—one I might eventually agree with. My first reaction was a little different. The Stalker says something like the room can only give people what’s in their heart. So if a person’s heart is lacking in some way or tainted with something bad, then what the person would receive from the room might actually hurt the person.

Also, I think about the danger of getting what you wish for. We may think we know what is good for us, but because of our limited knowledge we don’t. What we think will make us fulfilled might do the exact opposite.

Then again, the film is now pretty hazy in my mind, and I’d have to re-watch it to be sure of my position.

Btw, did anyone get the sense that the film presented a tension between the mystical and science—and maybe industrialization—as represented by the sound of the train. I believe the final shot of the room is of the water on the ground, with the sound of the train rumbling past. Then there is the scene of the Monkey moving the objects; once again the sound of the train drowns out the scene. I sort of felt like these scenes showed the way science and modernization drown out the spiritual/mystical. Anyone else get this sense?

Robert W Peabody III

over 4 years ago

Kamran, Roscoe, Megg, et al
I actually deleted that post but forgot to check and see if the delete ‘took’.
Not sure what was thinking about then – it is obviously in the film.


over 4 years ago

Then there is the scene of the Monkey moving the objects; once again the sound of the train drowns out the scene. I sort of felt like these scenes showed the way science and modernization drown out the spiritual/mystical. Anyone else get this sense?

Yeah I think a case could easily be made for that connection. The whole look of everything outside the Zone is to create a sans soul feeling/environment

Margari​ta Shamrak​ov

over 4 years ago


I agree with you, I think Zone is both, tangible and intangible. I think Tarkovsy is very multi dimensional director, many levels, many thoughts, many different view mixed together, just like our Universe, everything is in the Big Bang.
Little girls name is Martishka, which really means “little monkey”, it sounds very cute in Russian.

Translation is good, but less poetic, Russian language is very poetic, , and the translation was a little bit dry, even the poem did not sound as nearly beautiful as in Russian.
“It’s not enough” poem, speaks of no matter how much you experience in life, and even if all your dreams come true , somehow it is still seems very little. I think it has to do with our mortality and that our lives are just a little moment and that there is so much more out there, and we as human want to be able to at least somehow touch a mystery of universe and the mystery of life on a deeper level, and we want to be still bigger and still make a difference. And a life time is not enough.
I love Arsenii Tarkovsky’s poetry (Tarkovsy father who wtore the poem)

Mike Clayton

over 4 years ago

I have enjoyed reading the recent posts that have revived this thread. One of the great scenes near the end is when the three men finally get near the Room. As they sit in a decaying building, we assume in the middle of nowhere, deep inside the Zone, suddenly a phone rings! One of the men answers it and says, “This is not the clinic.” Surely, this was a bit of levity thrown into this very stark film. How could a phone be there, why is it ringing just then? Here these men are just about to reach the final frontier of the journey – and we get a wrong number???

The scene sets up what is then revealed, that the Professor has a bomb he intends to use to blow-up the Room. Of course, he never does, but I think the whole scene adds yet another level of absurdity and complexity to the situation. It soon becomes obvious that inspite of all their intentions, the exhausting nature of their precarious journey, the many risks they have taken, no one now wants to enter the Room. A bit anticlimatic that. We have been led throughout to the expectation of finally seeing the Room – and are denied. We will never know just what it may have looked like, but I expect it would really not be that much different than the room where the phone rings.

This would not have been Kubrick’s Room at the end of 2001, in any case. Tarkovsky was far too austere a filmmaker for anything that ostentatious – and obvious.

I agree with the explanations recently given that no one wanted to enter because they were afraid that their own innermost (as in dangerous) desires would be realized and be contrary to what they would have been wishing for consciously. In any case, the Professor’s motives were to enter the Room just to blow it up, so when he changes his mind, he doesn’t need to enter the Room. The Stalker is the one most fearful of the consequences of the Room, so we can understand his hesitation. The motives for the Writer not entering are less clear.

Not knowing the source material, I can only guess the reason Tarkovsky has them NOT enter the Room. My theory is that he ran out of money for whatever special effects he would have needed to film it – ha! But we will never know just what Tarkovsky’s Room would have looked like. Too me, that is sad. I now need to find the Stalker and have him take me to the Room – that would fulfill my innermost wish. A brilliant and baffling film I never tire of seeing, inspite of the anticlimax.

Robert W Peabody III

over 4 years ago

Tarkovsky has them NOT enter the Room. My theory is that he ran out of money for whatever special effects he would have needed to film it

You’re kidding, right?

No one enters the room because they don’t want to realize the truth about themselves – that they are all playing roles.
Nonetheless, Tarkovsky’s truth about them is revealed to us:
01:21:06,000 —>01:23:11,559
Calling themselves intellectuals,those writers and scientists!

They don’t believe in anything!

The only thing they can think about is how to sell themselves not too cheap!


over 4 years ago

lol@you’re kidding right.

It’s pretty obvious that what Tarkovsky really wanted to say is that you are better off being a man than a dog.

Stalker is all about the dog!

Robert W Peabody III

over 4 years ago

room = kennel

Sara Cortopa​ssi

almost 4 years ago

I just saw the film… i liked it very much but I’m puzzled by the final scene too. It sounded very… I don’t know how to explain it… trivial? in comparison with the rest of the film.

Anyway, a lot of things has been said, I wanted to ask you if anyone has ideas about relations, influences and similarities between Stalker, Antichrist and maybe also Picnic at Hanging rock.

Perhaps it’s a bold comparison, let me know… I felt the same mood watching these films.


almost 4 years ago

The last few days I’ve come really close to sneezing, then at the last second, just as I finished that last deep intake of breath, the sneeze disappears. When that happens I get really bummed. Maybe that’s how some of you have felt watching the end of STALKER. Too bad.

Vincent Lassauw

almost 4 years ago

The movie is about faith versus science, a theme exploited by Tarkovsky in many of his movies in con- or subtext, both roads proclaiming themselves as a precursor of hope.
It’s pretty obvious what Tarkovsky believes as is clear from all his movies as well as his own various testimonies outside of them.
The end is not that hard to understand, the ambiguity of the glass moving through an act of faith or an act of science (caused by the train passing).
There is the possibility of hope that Stalker finds in the Zone (colour) taken back from it at long last, but it’s always up to us to have faith or not.
There is a political dimension to all this of course, just pay attention to the music you hear as the train passes.
(As for the guy wondering about the symbolism of rain in his movies. Tarkovsky has talked about that that he didn’t understand how critics kept going on and on about that. He simply loves rain.)

Nathan Krauss

over 3 years ago

I would like to propose my explanation for the harmful effects of The Zone has on The Stalker:

I get the impression that The Zone was some sort of power plant before it became bestowed with this supernatural presence. If there was a meteorite, some sort of explosion, or what have you that triggered the supernatural, I believe that the leakage of radiation is a result of the power plant being destroyed. This would explain why the Stalker seems sick and why his hair is thinning, as well as why his daughter was born with mutations- the reason is simply radiation poisoning from the abandoned power plant.

- -

over 3 years ago

To be honest I did not interpret it much. It seemed like the girl had psychic powers, and that’s about as far as I guessed or wondered. I think Tarkovsky put the segment there because he wanted an ending that avoided interpretations completely, much like the highway segment in Solaris.


over 2 years ago

Reductively? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Miloš Marić

about 2 years ago

what’s the point of the movie? and the ending scene,with Monkey’s special powers?

It means that no matter how much things change the world will be a terrible place, as always.
“Stalker-The anti 2001”.

- -

about 2 years ago

what’s the point of the movie?

The point of any Tarkovsky film is to pass the time.

And eat pop corn.

Koen Kestere​n

11 months ago

I believe its all about appreciating life as it is without the need to understand it, control it or to wish it to be anything else.

All 3 main characters have their ideas about the world or desires to change it. When they get closer to the room they become more and more desperate and dissappointed. All they believed and hoped for gets destroyed. But at the same time, with the destruction of these artificial constructs, what remains is reality. I believe that is why he used colour near the room and at the end with the daughter. When you are finally open to see what is really out there life becomes magic just as it is.

Gregg Evans

7 months ago

Many great ideas from this thread. I like KOEN KESTERE​N’s interpretation which is hard to argue against based on the wife’s monologue at the end.

As I experience life, the “color” usually shows up when I am whole heartedly pursuing something I perceive as important but then the color fades when that pursuit plays out (it always does). The real color comes when I accept things as they are.

So first the men spend an eternity mucking about in the mud, pollution, and weapons making up idea after idea and rule after rule about what they want, what is to be done, but really about who they are.

Next the women take over. The wife looks directly at the camera and takes the movie over. Her monologue is well beyond anything the men have come up with. It is about the practice of acceptance and of not being led around by that innermost desire to be free of the bitter.

Now the movie is color again and his “crippled” daughter who he abandons in his quest for magic has the real proof of magic.


7 months ago

Slightly off topic, but Open Culture just tweeted about an article comparing the 2007 game S.T.A.L.K.E.R to Tarkovsky’s film, which I thought was interesting:

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