December 29th, 2014: Solaris (1972)

Cast and Crew: Stanislaw Lem (Novel)

What It’s About:    Psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) journeys to a space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris.  There he discovers one of the Cosmonauts dead and the others deeply disturbed by their encounters with the “Guests” the intelligent planet below sends to the station.

Why Watch it Today?:  Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky died today in 1986.  Tarkovsky’s Solaris is a unique, and influential take on science fiction, and appropriately is a meditation on life, loss, and the nature of reality and experience.

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2 comments on “December 29th, 2014: Solaris (1972)

  1. geelw says:

    Heh. And this is also a film that you may need to watch alone at least once, as it tends to bore some people when seen in a group if they expect sci-fi means lots of explosions, snappy jokes and snazzy editing. I think it took me three attempts to sit through this, though because it always came on at odd hours…

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      I had heard of it for years, so a few years back I took it out of my local library network, the Criterion edition. The Baroness and I watched it together and enjoyed it, though I think she mostly checked out after the very long “driving in Japan” sequence (which really shouldn’t be in the movie anyways-it was put there because the Soviet bureaucrats who approved sending the FX team over to Japan to learn techniques wanted proof that the trip was needed for shooting locations). I am just old enough for sci-fi to have had about three main forms when I was a kid: Star Wars style Space Opera, horror-sci-fi hybrids and the pre-Star Wars style that tended to be more thoughtful, and I enjoy all three.

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