Un/Observed: Inside The Zone

No Writer. No Professor. No Stalker. Only The Zone.

Un/Observed is a re-edit of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker that completely removes all human presence, creating a portrait of the Zone as an empty and tranquil place that nonetheless still exudes a mysterious ambience.

We move through the overgrowth littered with derelict machinery, follow rushing water out to a calm river, and wander the creaking and echoey tunnels of the meat grinder. The fabled Room is present here too, albeit devoid of its usual mythos. Our only companions throughout our tour are the fleeting glimpses of wildlife found within the Zone: A lone dog, wandering the wasteland, a hawk swooping through a room of sand dunes, and the distant but recurring sounds of cuckoos somewhere within the trees.

  • Dan Noall
    Moonage Ice Cream
  • Dan Noall
  • Dan Noall
    Visual Effects
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Remix, Found Footage
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 4, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    0 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Dan Noall

Dan Noall is a found-footage filmmaker based in London, England.

Recently his micro-short remix film Moonage Ice Cream (Aka David Bowie the Shape Shifter) premiered at London Short Film Festival 2019, where it was nominated for a Channel 4 Random Acts Award in the official competition.

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Director Statement

In Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker, the Zone is an alluring and enigmatic place, a supernatural landscape where the laws of reality are pulled from under your feet. However, we only ever observe the Zone through the eyes of those infiltrating and navigating it, and, just through their observation, the Zone changes; it reacts to their presence. As the character of Stalker says:

“I don’t know what happens here when humans aren’t around, but the moment someone shows up, everything begins to change. At each moment, it’s as if we construct it according to our state of mind.”

Like a tree falling in a forest, is the Zone still ‘The Zone’ when no-one is there to witness it?

Inspired by this idea, Un/Observed attempts to imagine the Zone outside the events of Stalker, outside the viewpoint of its characters, without any human presence or observation. Careful shot selection, visual effects and reworked sound design all offer a completely new perspective on the Zone. No dramatic narrative has been created from the material, instead it simply presents a vérité snapshot of the Zone on an ordinary day, if such a thing exists.