The Solaris mission has established a base on a planet that appears to host some kind of intelligence, but the details are hazy and very secret. After the mysterious demise of one of the three scientists on the base, the main character is sent out to replace him. He finds the station run-down and the two remaining scientists cold and secretive. When he also encounters his wife who has been dead for ten years, he begins to appreciate the baffling nature of the alien intelligence.Written by
In Lem's novel, Hari is spelt "Harey," an anagram of Rheya. This is probably a reference to the titan "Rhea," who was mother of the Gods in Greek mythology, and which is also the name of a moon of Saturn. Rhea was the wife of Cronus/Saturn (the ruler of time), and the sister of Oceanus (Solaris is an ocean planet) and Tethys, a sea goddess, as well as the mother of Poseidon/Neptune; her parents were Uranus (the sky god) and Gaia (the earth goddess). See more »
When Kris is standing in the rain near the beginning of the film the camera tilts down to the table to show a coffee cup and various other items. The cut to the next shot of Kris shows him to have moved (which seems reasonable as a small amount of time has elapsed) but all the items on the table are now in a different configuration. See more »
Remember Tolstoy? His suffering over the impossibility of loving mankind as a whole? How much time has passed since then? Somehow I can't figure it out. Help me.
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There are numerous differences between the Criterion Collection DVD and the DVD released by the Russian Cinema Council (RUSCICO) on the RUSCICO DVD. The scene where Berton is driving on the highway in downtown Tokyo included a B&W shot that slowly and seamlessly fades into full color. This shot is entirely in color on the Criterion Collection DVD. The RUSCICO DVD ends part one right after Kris launches the rocket with Hari in it off the station. The Criterion Collection DVD ends part one right before the launch scene. There are also small changes in the subtitles, most notably in the opening credits. The RUSCICO DVD translates a notation about Bach's Choral prelude being used in the film. On the Criterion Collection DVD this notation is not given subtitles. The RUSCICO DVD has an optional partially dubbed English language track. It includes English audio for dialog not subtitled in either version. There are also some minor changes in the audio itself. The Criterion Collection DVD removes some of the sound reverberation for a few scenes. See more »
This is my favourite film and possibly the best film ever made. It's impossible to put into words what I feel about this beautiful poem. Certainly it is uniquely brilliant artistically and seems to be different every time you view it, the dynamics and emotions of the characters shifting hypnotically. It has the feel of a painting in a gallery and the photography is almost expressionist. It really has to be viewed at the cinema only.
There was a very clever ad campaign to this film stating it was the Russian 2001. So us ten year olds went to see it thinking we were going to see a special effects extravaganza, and instead we saw, what seemed as a child, interminable shots of lilly's and weeds. It went over our heads but I never forgot the score and its haunting melancholia. Apparently Tarkovsky had a bad time making this film and fell out with his cinematographer. Stanislav Lem also disliked the way Tarkovsky changed the book's theme of optimism in exploring space to one of scepticism in the film. Tarkovsky felt that finally what mattered was the theme of love, that is, doing moral good in the universe, love of family or country, or the place of one's birth. The beginning of one's journey which one always returns to in one's mind which was evocatively shown in the film's climax by the lake, surely one of the great movie moments ever and terribly moving. His ultimate concern was the question of a man's soul which he is unable to deal with while striving for technological betterment. Ultimately he hoped man would reach a stage where he would solely be able to explore his spirituality.
I think with all this polemic Tarkovsky missed the fact that this film works as a beautiful love story. If you could turn the clock back there would be no moral life. But in giving Kelvin a second chance to find a greater truth, Tarkovsky also allows us a rare glimpse of love's majesty before it is sullied. The scenes where Kelvin begs Khari's forgiveness and levitates in her arms are the film's great triumphs. His use of Bach is also unforgettable. Unfairly accused of being po-faced, there is also a lot of wise humour in this film if you care to look for it.
This film inexplicably does not appear on many, if any, all time great lists. It does have some Sci-Fi nonsense of the day about bombarding the ocean with radiation, whatever that's supposed to do, but does not prevent this film being one of the great masterpieces of cinema. Recently Time Out or Sight and Sound did a survey of the all time top 20 directors and Tarkovsky did not appear but Woody Allen did! There ain't no justice.
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