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August 27, 2007

Solaris (1972) - 6

Here Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia's most famous director, explores human psychological. This film is the basis for the remake by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney in 2002. It is a meditative film, slowly revealing more about the psychology of the characters. At points it is almost to drawn out with scenes of nature and space, it is a film that requires patience. The film starts with government video of an inquiry into what is happening at the space station (This could be part of the inspiration for the film Contact) The plot involves a psychologist, Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), who travels to a space station of a mysterious lake. He soon discovers that the people on board's desires start to become a reality because of some sort of radiation from the lake. It reveals Kelvin's grief over his wife's death, and her reappearance on the space station. The final voice over is metaphysical poetry, asking questions of the meaning of our desires, longings, and loves. The film ends with Kelvin reuniting with his distant father. Watch this film if you want to hear Zizek's analysis of the film.


Jason said...

This (and Soderbergh's version) were both based off of Stanislaw Lem's great, great novel.

Both films get some things right, but change others (I know Tarkovsky tweaked some of the plot to fit into his Christian worldview). But the Lem novel does a wonderful job of the concept of how ALIEN something alien could be. It's incredible.

Anonymous said...

This film is so detached that the danger it creates in viewers is to internalize that same sense of detachment, which I admittedly was guilty of. While it's got some gorgeous sequences (the thawing out "wife" sequence, as well as the finale that Zizek references), I left the film feeling merely a slight moral and spiritual awakening.

Though I'd be lying if I said that I understood half of what it's about, I'd recommend Tarkovsky's "Mirror" for a better film of his, one that lingers in my mind three years later.