From Roadside Picnic (the Strugatsky Brothers) to Stalker (Tarkovsky): a Work of Adaptation
In this article, we compare the short novel Roadside Picnic (Piknik na obochine) bythe Strugatsky brothers with different versions of scripts written by these novelistsfor the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. We aim to explore the unique ways in which Tarkovsky’s artistic vision through the adaptation from literary work to film changesthe framework and main features of the science fiction (sci-fi) genre. Although theStrugatsky brothers were the authors of the script, the film Stalker (which wasactually shot twice because the first version was destroyed owing to a technological failure) was much different from the novel Roadside Picnic in regard to plot,character names, location, and many other features; therefore, the final film versionof the script was also the work of Tarkovsky. Based on a sci-fi novel, the film extendsfar beyond the limits of this genre, and its artistic discoveries are not fully explainedby the specificities of the parable genre, as the film was defined by critics. In Stalker,the last film made by Tarkovsky in the USSR, the work of adaptation is mostlyreplaced by the difficult and sometimes painful process of creating an author’s version of art cinema.