"Haunting, provocative, beautifully shot and infused with an irresistable, tender sadness, this is sci-fi, and indeed cinema, at its most powerful and mysterious." - Film4

Part of the 5 by Andrei Tarkovsky series

Tarkovsky’s rejoinder to Kubrick’s 2001 is a visionary work in which the travel is not so much into outer but inner space, the cosmos of memory, consciousness, and dreams. Dispatched to investigate what seems to be a case of mass psychosis on a space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris, psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) discovers that the planet’s “thinking ocean” has the power to materialize the deepest and most painful memories of the station’s crew — which he discovers for himself when his dead wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk) suddenly appears to him.

Feverishly shot in Scope and alternating artificial Soviet colour with black and white, Solaris is possibly Tarkovsky’s most moving statement on loss and regret.

“Andrei Tarkovsky started work on an adaptation of Stanisław Lem's philosophical science-fiction novel, Solaris, in 1968 in an attempt to find a popular cinematic subject. After the usual labyrinthine negotiations with the Soviet authorities over the script, what emerged was a space film unlike anything before or since.

"Lem's novel posited the existence of solaristics; the study of an outlying star system that had bizarre effects on human psychology. Tarkovsky took this idea, and turned it into a dreamlike interrogation of faith, memory and the transfiguring power of love.

"Tarkovsky begins his version of the story with some of the most magically earthbound images ever filmed, as his protagonist, a psychologist called Kelvin, contemplates his garden. He then embarks on a voyage to the space station circling Solaris, there to investigate the reports of eccentric behaviour of previous visitors.

"Tarkovsky was barely interested in Lem's main preoccupation: to theorise about what might constitute alien life. Solaris, and its apparently animate "oceans", are simply a conduit to, and externalisation of, deeper spiritual matters. The clarity and beauty of Solaris ensures its majesty lives on.” - The Guardian


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