solaris (1972). [movies in space #4]

Tarkovskiy’s 1972 film about a mission to a space station orbiting the fictional “planet” of Solaris. Weird stuff keeps happening on the space station, and scientist Kris Kelvin is sent there to decide whether or not the Solaris project would continue. Once there, the frayed minds of the other scientists aboard the station, as well as the presence of some unexpected guests, make the mission much more trying than he thought. Will he ever get back to earth?

It wasn’t difficult to tell that this was by the same director as Stalker. Lots of slow, sweeping shots; very deliberate pace where ideas are more important than story; unique take on film that most people would have trouble sitting through. I think a combination of Tarkovskiy’s skill as a director, combined with excellent acting, make the end product quite rewarding and enjoyable. I really do love the heady way Tarkovskiy liked to roam around in philosophy (and religion when he could get away with talking about God while pretending not to talk about God… he was making films in the USSR after all).

I liked Stalker more, but I’m not sure why yet. Maybe I never will know why, since Tarkovskiy made films you experience and live in as much as watch. He’s up there with Bergman and Kurosawa as guys who pushed the medium of film firmly into the realm of art.