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
I'm just starting out into the vast world of foreign film and having seen this film on many a video store shelf, and knowing that it was considered a sci-fi classic, I thought it would be a good way to spend an evening. Based on the case I was expecting something along the line of typical American sci-fi. Needless to say I was wrong.
I watched Solyaris twice in two days, because the first time I saw it I knew that I hadn't processed even a quarter of what I knew was there. I was taken completely aback. The second viewing was extremely rewarding.
It was unusual for me, raised as I was on the sledgehammer moralizing and we'll make our point so obvious that there's no way you can miss it because we have no respect for your intelligence way of American film. I'm a huge literature buff, and this was one of the very few films I've confronted that is thoughtful and has so many things to say yet does it in a literary or poetic fashion.
You will get out of this film what you bring to it. I've been to so many movies where the audience is not actually participating, it's being attacked. But true art is not domineering; it woos you.
So to sum up, I greatly appreciated Tarkovsky's unwillingness to manipulate the viewer. It showed that he had respect for me as a thinking soul, and it is this love and respect for humanity which makes this a truly great film.
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