Close Up

23 December 2016: Take Two: Stalker / Pictures of the Old World

Second Run presents an inspired pairing of Tarkovsky’s purest articulation of cinema as spiritual quest and Dušan Hanák’s deep exploration of human experience. Pictures of the Old World is an unquestioned masterpiece of European documentary film, with an existential radicalism rare for filmic portrayals of life on the fringes.
Pictures of the Old World
Dušan Hanák
1972 | 64 min | B/W | Digital
Dušan Hanák's renowned film was voted by critics as the best Slovak film of all time. Inspired by the photographs of Slovak artist Martin Martinček whose pictures distilled entire lifetimes into luminous and intransient images, Hanák created his own distinctive impressions of the artist's work in reflecting a myriad of human stories. At odds with the Communist propaganda of the time, the authorities withdrew the film from release and it remained condemned and banned for many years. Hanák's film, however, is not political or polemical but explores much more fundamental levels of human experience. Its power and beauty lie in its unique portrait of a people left behind by the modern world. A singular and shattering film. 

Andrei Tarkovsky
1979 | 163 min | Colour & B/W | DCP

Deep within the Zone lies a mysterious room with the power to grant the deepest wishes of those strong enough to make the hazardous journey there. Desperate to reach it, a scientist and a writer approach the Stalker, one of the few able to navigate the Zone's menacing terrain, and begin a dangerous trek into the unknown. Hauntingly exploring man's dreams and desires, and the consequences of realising them, Stalker, adapted from Arkady & Boris Strugatsky's novel Roadside Picnic, has been described as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.