Solaris

What's it About

Sent to evaluate the mental state of three cosmonauts at a Russian space station orbiting the mysterious ocean-planet Solaris, psychologist Kris Kelvin (Banionis) learns upon arriving that lead scientist Dr. Gibrarius (Sos Sarkisyan) is dead, apparently a suicide. As he puzzles over the psychic torments afflicting the remaining two men, who are behaving oddly, Kelvin is visited by the flesh-and-blood apparition of his dead wife, Hari (Bondarchuk).

Why We Love It

A cerebral, eerily gorgeous elaboration of Stanislaw Lem's ruminative sci-fi novel, Tarkovsky's atmospheric "Solaris" is the furthest thing imaginable from outer-space action flicks like "Aliens"; it's much closer in spirit to Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". As always, Tarkovsky carefully modulates the action to a hypnotic crawl, creating an effect that is both sublime and chilling, especially once the "Guests"- the materialization of repressed memories- begin to arrive. Exploring the nature of love and memory, past trauma and the enigma of consciousness, "Solaris" is a breathtaking film with a powerful undercurrent of spiritual longing. (Not to be confused with the Steven Soderbergh/George Clooney re-make).

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