(Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1972) 165 minutes


Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Producion: Mosfilm
Screenplay: Andrei Tarkovsky, Friedrich Gorenstein,
based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem
Photography: Vadim Yusov
Editor: Ludmila Feyganova
Music: Eduard Artemyev,
based on Bach's Choral Prelude in F minor
Natalya Bondarchuk (Hari)
Donatas Banionis (Kris Kelvin)
Yuri Jarvet (Snauth)
Anatoli Solonitsin (Sartorius)
Vladislav Dvorjetzki (Burton)
Nikolai Grinko (Father)
Sos Sarkissian (Gibaryan)

Reviews and notes

Infinitely subtle and complex in its thought processes, SOLARIS defies analysis at a single viewing. But one can claim with confidence that it is among the most intelligent Soviet films of recent years. For Tarkovsky has done more than just respond to the challenge of Kubrick's 2001; he has begun to question man's psychological resources at a time when science impels him towards unknown areas of space technology.

The planet Solaris consists of a vast ocean that is apparently in itself a kind of brain, able to control at will the thoughts of the men who supervise the space station established there. Thus cosmic travel is equated with travel within the human mind, and each line of dialogue takes on a double tier of meaning. Fantasy follows fantasy in the vision of Kelvin, the psychologist sent to investigate the communications failure with Solaris. His guilt towards his wife, Hari, all but consumes him. At the end he returns to his tranquil house, with the silent waters around it a reminder of the pervasive, supernatural power of Solaris.

Tarkovsky's direction is painfully slow at times, but the cumulative effect of the long-held images has an Antonioni-like strength and mystery.
- Peter Cowie, International Film Guide 1973, Tantivy/Barnes, 1972.

Weblink: A review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 19 January 2003

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