Solaris (The Criterion Collection)
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It also compares it with the version released by the Russian Cinema Council (RUSCICO)
Solaris, released as Solyaris in Russia, is among my favorite Russian films, and my favorite film by Andrei Tarkovsky. It is based on the sci-fi novel by Stanislaw Lem. It is been considered a Russian version of 2001 A Space Odyessy. While some consider it to be the polar opposite.
An interesting note is that the Criterion Collection edition was released exacltly one day before the theactrical release of the 2002 remake directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney.
It is about a space station orbiting an apparently sentient planet. The planet has the capability of reading the minds of the scientists aboard the space station and created 'doubles' of people from their past. When a psychologist comes aboard to investigate, he is confounded by the recreation of his dead wife.
It is a great film. Although it is slow paced, it has some excelent and unique cinematography. One example is one scene near the begining of the film where it focuses on raindrops landing in a full teacup. The special effects in this film are quite impressive given the time, place, and budget of filming. To top it off the film's score includes a superb rendition of J.S. Bach's Choral Prelude in F Minor, "Ich ruf zu' dir Herr Jesu Christ" BWV 639.
There are some subltle differences betweent he Criterion DVD and the RUSCICO DVD. The most noticable is a 5 minute POV scene of driving through the streets of a city. The scene is in both color and B&W. In the RUSCICO version part of the scene segues from B&W to color. on the Criterion DVD this part is solely in color.Read more ›
Strange happenings have been reported by three scientists onboard a space station orbiting Solaris, a distant planet. Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), is sent to investigate. The opening of the nearly 3 hour film is quite slow, setting some groundwork for the rest of the film by establishing its roots on Earth, something not present in the novel. The earth setting is in and about the home of Kelvins father played by Nikolai Grinko. It is here that he learns from his fathers friend Burton (Vladislav Dvorzhetsky) of the mystery surrounding Solaris. Burton, a cosmonaut that orbited the planet years earlier, gives an indication that there is more to the planet than just being covered by water, but the details are left intentionally vague so they can be flush out later in the film.
Kelvin leaves Earth and arrives at the space station to find it in a state of disrepair, a crewman dead that was a personal friend and the remaining two occupants in a state of paranoia. Soon after Kelvin experiences what has been afflicting the crew when a vision of his wife Hari appears. This is quite odd considering she has been dead for over 10 years, but he can talk to her and touch her and she seems real. She knows who she is but does not remember anything about the details of her death. In actuality, Kelvin's wife died by committing suicide and now he is placed in the position of either reliving that horror or being able to do something to prevent it.Read more ›
One bonus of the film being so long with big spaces between dialogue, it gives you the opportunity to switch to the informative commentary track, to hear some interesting insight into the film. While most other movies you MUST watch it with the commentary off to be able to take it all in correctly, you can actually get away with switching back and forth without missing too much of the actual film. One part of the commentary I disagreed with was when the male narrator noted that in the scene where Satorius takes the gauze off Hari's finger and tosses it, that he is doing this because of contamination. One can clearly see by his expression and manner in doing this, that he is being sarcastic as he knows that Hari does not need a bandage, because the wound will simply regenerate and heal in a matter of minutes. There is also a sense of his envy toward her because Kelvin gets to have a doppleganger of his wife to somewhat enjoy, while Satorius only has dwarfs to deal with.
I think the scenes on Earth are gorgeous and completely necessary. Hoever, had they not been there like in the book, the movie would have been 2 hours instead of 2 hours and 40 minutes (a much easier time for mainstream audiences to grasp). I wouldn't trade it for a shorter run time at all.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a movie made by and its primary audience will be students of film, direction, editing, film as art. When viewed this way, it is an excellent film. Read morePublished 4 months ago by matt8386
This could be cut in half. What use is 6 straight, uncut minutes of footage looking through the windshield of a car driving down the highway with nothing happening?Published 5 months ago by GD
Tark's dumbed down adaptation of Lem's masterpiece, very sad to see Lem's work reduced down to a third rate soap opera with intermittent metaphysical wank sessions.Published 6 months ago by Robert Mitchell
In subtitles. If you like reading for 3 straight hours.The ending was different than the George Clooney version. It was boring. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Keith Stevens
My all time favorite movie, so it's a no brainer review. I wish there were more geniuses like Tarkovsky in the world. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amanda Cole
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