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
There are a number of references to Cervantes' "Don Quixote" in the film. In the library, Snaut quotes from the novel ("Never before, Sancho, have I heard you speak so elegantly as now.") At one point, Dr. Snaut also refers to tilting at windmills, and during the weightless scene, an open copy of Don Quixote with the illustration of Gustave Doré flies past; the illustration depicts the knight errant on his steed Rocinante. See more »
In the weightless scene, in addition to the candle flames behaving as if they were in Earth's gravity, Khari's dress and hair fall downwards, rather than floating upward. See more »
The DVD from Criterion has many small differences in the subtitles from the VHS version released by Fox Lorber. Most are inconsequential (in the VHS version, Kris's father compares him to "an accountant" while in the DVD he refers to "a bookkeeper") but the VHS version's subtitles are incomplete, simplifying some passages and eliminating simple phrases. Early on, Kris's father refers to "that damned Solaristics" (sic) in the VHS version; the subtitles in the DVD say "These Solarists." (In this scene, the VHS version may be more accurate: the DVD commentary by the film historians refers to the line as "damned Solaristics.") Also, the VHS version has Sartorius saying "All the rest is bullshit," while the DVD has him saying, "Everything else is whim." Also, in the in the VHS version, several of the black-and-white segments (including the film of Burton's debriefing) are sepia-toned, and one color shot goes to black-and-white after Kris passes in front of the camera (the scene is completely black-and-white in the DVD). The scene where Kris sees Hari for the second time is in black-and-white on VHS, but it has an orange, sunset-like tone in the DVD (possibly tinted black-and-white). These differences are clearly not a result of remastering or color-correction. Finally, the VHS version, which is two cassettes, shows the title card for "Solaris: Part One" but doesn't subtitle it, and it does not show the title card for "Solaris: Part Two." The title would appear at the beginning of the second tape. See more »
A dream-like examination of love and first contact
Two truths drive this film: the inadequacy of human-kind to understand the Universe, and the inadequacy of human-kind to understand the human heart.
As such, using Lem's original idea, Tarkovsky successfully, explores these themes.
We are drawn in, through hauntingly beautiful imagery, to the internal struggles of Kris Kelvin as he attempts to understand feelings of love for his suicided wife, who has been mysteriously resurrected, presumably as an attempt by Solaris to communicate, or torture.
Of course Solaris is probably the most original alien ever concocted, (no phone-homes here) and as must be, utterly enigmatic and beyond communication.
Be warned, this film is very long, and sometimes slow, but for those who consider themselves science fiction addicts, it is a must view.
One of the top 5 sci-fi films of all time.
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