In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
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 »
During Snouth's birthday party, Chris falls to his knees in front of Hari. The camera clearly shows she is barefoot. In the following long shot, she is wearing shoes. See more »
Like the majority of reviewers here, I rate this film as one of the most profound viewing experiences I can remember. While the IMDb guidelines recommend avoiding reference to specific reviews of Solaris within this section, I strongly believe that there is much to be learnt about this movie by evaluating those reviews as a whole.
This is clearly either a love or a hate movie. Those who love it describe in detail its effect on them, the feelings it evokes, its significance and the depth of its philosophical enquiry. Those who hate it largely describe it as too slow-paced; boring.
What matters to me about this film which I first watched as mesmerised 15 year old is that it is almost entirely the antithesis of Classical Hollywood cinema. It came from behind the Iron Curtain (that dark place whose strange and hidden 'otherness' has, like the plot of any modern movie, now also been laid wide open by capitalist 'democracy'). Its actors were unknown - more like real people than the celebrities the West populates its movies with. Its pace was slow, mesmeric, hypnotic and atmospheric. It was completely free of the kind of 'good triumphs over evil' motif that riddles Hollywood film-making, where 'good' is white-ness, wealth, youth, Westernness and so on.
The pleasure of Solaris was that I didn't know what I was watching. I didn't know who I was watching. I didn't know the culture it reflected and - most importantly - I didn't know what was going to happen.
Perhaps its only in re-watching the 1971 Solaris that it becomes apparent to me that somewhere along the way we have been stripped of the right to not know; robbed of the true narrative thrill of being led into the dark, magical forest of the unknown.
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