miércoles, 16 de noviembre de 2011

Interview with Andrei Tarkovsky (on Stalker)

La millor manera per entendre quines eren les intencions e interpretacions que va voler expressar Tarkovsky en la pel.lícula Stalker (1979) seria escoltar al propi director en persona, i que millor que una entrevista que va tenir lloc a Roma, el Juliol de 1980, a càrrec de l'italià Aldo Tassone per la revista francesa de cinema, Positif nº 247 (Octubre 1981). Una entrevista que he trobat recopilada en el llibre "Andrei Tarkovsky: Interviews" de John Gianvito - The University Press of Mississippi - 2006.

La transcripció és meva, això vol dir que potser hi ha alguna errata, també he subrallat les parts que em semblan més importants o resumeixen la resposta, sé que és una mica llarga però val la pena, també m'he atrevit a posar algún comentari. Disfruteu-la i la comentem. He afegit l'opció de traducció per aquells que es fagi massa passat llegir en anglés...

Question: In a forbidden forest-the Zone-there is a Room in which one’s desires are fullfilled. . . Watching Stalker in Cannes—just once, unfortunately, and during frequent blackouts, I thought of these lines: “Near jasmine is a stone; beneath that stone is a hidden treasure..."

Tarkovsky: Those are the first words of “The White Day,” a poem written by my father, Arseni. At first, the script for The Mirror was to be called The White Day, before it actually became what it is. But an epigraph is a collection of words, and you can't choose them in a logical way. The choice is always a little random. lt’s a whim, and you can use whatever you want as long as the words are beautiful.

Q: is the Room of Desire an invention of Stalker? Was it in the novel by the Strugatsky brothers upon which the film is based? What does it represent for you?

T: In the original story by the Strugatsky brothers, which is very different from the script, there was a place where desires were fulfilled. But this was represented by a gold orb. There was a golden orb, for whatever reason. However, in the Strugatsky story, the desires were truly fulfilled, whereas in the script this remains a mystery. You don't know whether this is true or whether it's the Stalker's fantasy. For me as the author of the film, either choice is OK. It seems to me that it's just as well if it is all a part of his fantasy-that would not affect the main point at all. What's important is that the two travelers don't enter the room.

Q: And why don’t they enter the room?

T: Well, for one thing, the Stalker doesn’t enter because it wouldn't be right for him to enter. He doesn't have to. lt goes against his beliefs. Furthermore, if it's all in his imagination, then he doesn't go in because he knows his desires won't be fulfilled there. For him, the important thing is that the two others believe the Room can fulfill their desires, and that they enter. Even if in fact nothing happens. The Stalker needs to find people who believe in something, in a world that no longer believes in anything. Now, why doesn't the Writer enter? We don't know, and neither does he. He knows neither where he's going nor what he's looking for. We know he's a talented person, but already used up, and what he's writing now is what he's expected to write by critics, publishers, and the public. He's simply a popular author. And he no longer wants to continue down that road. At first, it seems to him that if he enters the Room, he'll be able to write better. He'll become the person he was when he first started writing, and he'll be able to rid himself of whatever has been weighing him down. But afterwards, his thinking changes and he asks himself: if I change, if my inspiration is restored, why would l continue to write since l would already know that whatever l would write would be automatically genius? The point of writing is to surpass oneself, to show others what one can do, that one can do even better. If someone already knows himself to he a genius, why write at all? What remains to be proven? Creation is a manifestation of one's will.
If the artist is a genius from the outset, his art loses all meaning. Furthermore, the Writer Considers the story of "Porcupine," who was the Stalker's teacher, and who hung himself. He concludes that in that Room it isn't one's desires that are fulfilled but rather a hidden vision lying deep within the heart of each person. These are true desires. which correspond to one's interior world. For instance, if it's wealth that I crave, that probably won't be what I receive, but rather something closer to the truth of my heart—poverty, for example, which is what my soul truly clamors for. These are hidden desires. The Writer is afraid of entering the Room because he has a pretty low opinion of himself.
As for the Scientist, he doesn't want to enter at all. From the beginning. ln fact, he is carrying a bomb to blow it up. That's because for him, the Room is a place that disturbed people could visit and thereby endanger all of life on earth. But he abandons his plan because it's not reasonable to fear that people motivated by a desire for total power would come to the Room. Also because in general people are motivated by things that are extremely basic like money, status, sex . . . That's why he doesn't destroy the Room. The other reason is that the Stalker convinces him not to do it, by telling him that such a place needs to be saved. Where people can come and still hope, people who want something, who need an ideal.

Q: In the end, the Stalker bemoans the cowardice of these men who won't enter the Room. He wonders about their attitude.

T: Obviously, they didn't enter because they are afraid. First of all, the Writer is afraid. He has a highly developed sense of his own insignificance and at the same time he figures: why should I go in if nothing is going to happen in there anyway? On the one hand, he understands that desires can't be fulfilled and that they won't be fulfilled there. And on the other hand, he's afraid. It's a very contradictory and superstitious position. That's why the Stalker is so upset. Because no one truly believes in the existence of the Room. The Writer definitely denies its existence. He says, "lt probably doesn't exist at all," and asks the Professor, “Who told you that it exists?" The Scientist points to the Stalker. It's he who is the only witness to the existence of the Room, the only one who has faith. All information about it comes from him, so it’s easy to imagine that he made it all up. For him, what's worse is not that they were afraid but that they didn't believe. That faith no longer has any place in the world.

Q: What sort of faith are you referring to?

T: Faith is faith. Without it, man is deprived of any spiritual roots. He is like a blind man. Over time, faith has been given different content. But in this period of the destruction of faith, what's important to the Stalker is to light a spark, a belief in the heart of people.

Q: Access to the Zone is forbidden by the authorities. Is this a metaphor? Does this mean that the powers that be do not want people to achieve their true desires?

T: lt's difficult for me to say why it's forbidden. It could be for any reason. It's true that it would be very dangerous to let people enter the Zone, since they could enter with desires that are very dangerous for society at large. It's probably the instinct for self-preservation. It's natural, and furthermore every society has an interest in maintaining its own stability.

Q: The paths leading to the Room are constantly changing. it’s hard to know which to choose. Danger could lurk anywhere.

T: The trip's security is dependent on the interior makeup of each individual, as the Stalker makes known in one of his speeches. If travelers come with sincere desires, they have nothing to fear. Otherwise, everything changes and the place becomes dangerous. Obstacles may spring up, changes... (Aquest punt és per mi contradictori, perque els desitjos ocults del cientific són destruir La Habitació, per tant no sembla posible que pogui sobreviure, sobretot un cop es separa del grup per anar a buscar la motxila..)

Q: The piece of cloth anchored by a metal bolt is a striking visual image... 

T: It has no particular meaning. How can you decide if the path is dangerous or not, not knowing what is ahead? But this, you can throw far ahead.

Q: At a certain point, one of them is separated from the others. and then he mysteriously catches up with them at the same place where he left them, as if in a dream... 

T: It's the Scientist who moves away because he's looking for his backpack. Why do they find him in the same place? First of all, they could have gotten lost. That's one answer. Furthermore, if the Zone has the powers that the Stalker say it does, then there could be a million explanations for this phenomenon. Finally, it's conceivable that he is leading them on these detours on purpose in order to create a magical atmosphere. You can never know for sure whether the Room exists or not. That's the whole problem.

Q: And the phone ringing in the derelict house? It's a beautiful image, but how can that happen?

T: Well, after all, it's very possible that an old telephone could be there, that it wasn't destroyed and that someone is on the line . . . Why is that impossible?

Q: The Stalker is something of a prophet. He's a Christ-like figure... 

T: Yes, he's a prophet who believes that humanity will perish for lack of a spiritual life. Actually, this story is about the crisis of one of the world’s last remaining idealists. (Aquesta resposta seria, per mi, el resum més clar de la pel.lícula).

Q: Why is the film called Stalker, and not The Room of Desires or quire simply, The Zone?

T: The Room of Dcsircs is too banal. l’d like to think that the film is realistic, and not fantasy or science-fiction. The Zone has an overly specific, technological meaning. Whereas Stalker is the name of the person telling the story, quite simply. It's his story that's important.

Q: How do you see the end of your film?

T: They go back. His wife sees that he has broken down completely, because no one believes it, believes his story.

Q: And the little girl?

T: His wife finally asks him, "Do you want me to go with you?" and he answers, “No one will ever go with me again, because no one hopes for anything any more." She insists, “Do you want me to go with you, because I too have something l want?" He answers, “No, you shouldn't go, because you might waver as well.” This is not very understandable. He refuses to take her for reasons we don't really understand. Maybe because the Writer convinced him that nothing could ever happen there again, that the place is unhealthy and useless. That may be why he shouldn't bring his wife there. But he should bring others there in order to pass on this virus of idealism. I don 't know about the little girl . . . She represents hope, quite simply. Children are always something hopeful. Probably because they are the future. In any case, that's the way life is.

Q: And the little girl's mysterious powers?

T: From a symbolic point of view, they represent new perspectives, new spiritual powers that are as yet unknown to us, as well as new physical forces. Furthermore, they could represent something else. People have always looked forward to the end of time as we know it, probably because their lives didn't satisfy them. Despite this, life goes on. It's true that today we have a nuclear bomb and this contributes to the apocalyptic dimension.

Q: Who will Stalker travel with next time?

T: I had this idea to make another film whose main characters would be the wife, the little girl, the Writer and the Stalker. In this film, his faith has apparently disappeared and he becomes a fascist. Since no one wants to go with him, he takes people against their will. (Qué fort! hagues sigut la segona part, no?)

Q: What do you say to people that say Stalker is a despairing film?

T: l don't know. I don't believe it is. I don't believe a work of art can be based on this type of emotion. It has to have a positive, spiritual meaning and contain hope and faith. I don't think my film is despairing, or if it is, it isn't a work of art. Even if it contains moments of despair, it still rises above them. It's a sort of catharsis. It's a tragedy and a tragedy isn't despairing. It's a story of destruction, which leaves the viewer with a sense of hope, because of the catharsis that Aristotle describes. Tragedy purifies man.

Q: Your film has something of a Platonic dialogue within it, where poetry and phiiosophy rub shoulders.

T: Yes, you have this feeling because in fact this isn't a trip but a kind of conversation in which the characters discover who they are. My impression is that true philosophers are always poets and vice versa. I needed images, symbols imbued with emotion, but that doesn't mean that they are devoid of any intellectual content. Any image, however striking, and it ought to be striking. has a very specific and important intellectual content. That's why I can't separate one from the other.

Q: Why did you make the characters a Writer and a Scientist?

T: For the Scientist, there was a simple reason. Who is it that could make a bomb? For a scientist, this would be easy technically since he has all the means necessary at his disposal. Given all that, it is not absolutely necessary that he be a scientist. It could have been anyone, but this would have made it difficult to present the story of the bomb.

Q: And the Writer?

T: That’s a very important character for me. Of course, it could have been someone else. A painter, a musician, a poet, anyone with a spiritual activity. So why not a writer?

Q: Each of these three characters represent you a little bit. They are each one-third of Tarkovsky, are they not?

T: Yes, but the one that pleases me the most is the Stalker. He is the best part of me, and also the part that is the least real. l feel very close to the Writer also. He is a character who has lost his way, but I feel he could find a spiritual way out of his predicament. I don't know about the Scientist. He is a very limited person. I wouldn't like to think that I am like him. Yet despite his obvious limitations, he does allow himself to change his mind, and he has an open mind, with the capacity for understanding.

Q: In this film, as in The Mirror, water plays a big role. There are many shots underwater, and with remarkable colors. What do they represent? How did you choose the colors?

T: I don't know. And I also feel that if we begin to talk about these things, we’ll never be able to stop. In any case, when we shot, we approached these issues as painters.

Q: The ruins, and the rusty objects you you find them on location or did you bring them there?

T: Some were there already, and others we brought.

Q: How do you see the Zone? As an imaginary place?

T: I don't know. In a way, it's a product of the Stalker's imagination. We thought about it this way: he was the one who created that place, to bring people and show them around, to convince them of the reality of his creation. Hence, the objects in the water, the fire he lit that was burning unbeknownst to them. l entirely accept the idea that this world was created by the Stalker in order to instill faith—faith in his reality. It was a working hypothesis that we used to create this universe. We even planned to have a variation of the ending in which we would tell the viewer that the Stalker had invented the whole thing, and that he was desperate because people didn't believe in it. Imagine a very rich man who created, from a little of everything, a world, a house to which he would bring his friends in order to create a certain impression. Obviously, if I were him, I wouldn't say that I've known this place for a long time, that I made it myself. It would be an experience for others, a fascinating sensation. That is the basis of creation in what could be called Stalker's line of work.

Q: At a certain paint there is a line about how intellectuals hope to be paid the slightest movement of their souls... 

T: Yes, that's what the Stalker says at the end. The truth is that in the contemporary world, people want to be paid for everything. Not necessarily literally, with money. But a person who behaves in a moral way wants to be recognized as being a moral person. This is the perspective of modern man, and I believe it results from the loss of a spiritual life.

2 comentarios:

  1. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  2. Molt guapa l'entrevista Dani!

    Sobre el punt que comentes que sembla contradictori, es pot salvar pensant que el científic no acaba fent servir la bomba, tot i que ell creu que destruïr l'habitació és el seu desig més ocult finalment acava per no fer-ho i per això la zona el deixa fer, no era el seu desig més sincer; o potser tot és una invenció del Stalker i per tan tampoc pot pasar-li res.

    Estic totalment d'acord amb que l'altra resposta que apuntes és un resum perfecte de la peŀlícula com també crec que la peŀlícula és un perfecte resum de què és la fe: la fe és una habitació buida que podem omplir amb els desitjos més profunds... he dicho;)