There are emotional and philosophical "spoilers" here. If you have not seen the movie and want to experience it yourself, do not read past this sentence.
Recently, I re-watched Solaris, for the 4th time. Originally I was looking forward mainly to wonderful dreamy interludes, childhood memories, reminiscent photos, multi-layered video recordings, epic paintings ... accompanied by Bach's powerful organ prelude (639). And I was prepared to be stressed for the rest of the duration. But this time I found a more complete picture. Watching in solitude, with undivided attention, it seems that it took as much and as many times to truly appreciate this film in all of its facets. Even though it disturbed me several times, on a level very hard to locate, I was able to follow with little distraction.
The movie is alienating from beginning to end. Referring to YoonC's fantastic user review: Solaris first recalls the world, and then takes us away from it - we get to see human society and human personality as something fascinating, but often mixed with disgust. We are thrown back to a distant scientific objectivity, perceiving human beings alien-like, while in fact helpless.
This way, Tarkovsky fulfilled a very important theme of Stanislav Lem's, one of the dominant threads throughout the oeuvre of one of the most accomplished writers and critics who ever lived. Both masters should not have been too unhappy about this rendering of the novel: Although it emotionally strays off of the book's course, and even though it is not exactly masterful in creating dialog (too much info-dropping and often mediocre phrasing, *in the translation, that is!*) - its patience and rigidity, when received with care, do create lingering feelings and brooding thoughts that must be very close to Lem's own premises. When we look into the blackness behind the station's windows, we are in space. It is the wrong place to be.
Driven by a desire to understand the living ocean of Solaris, trying to establish some kind of communication, the crew despairs over their failure. But in truth, the ocean shows what human communication, in the broadest possible meaning of the word, truly is: not a means primarily to gain knowledge or to organize society, to understand the universe or to remember the past; but a process that evokes - and fortifies - and varies - images of ourselves and our environments. These images are our self's pulse. To witness them being stripped of any rational meaning is devastating - at least, for compulsively rational minds.
Tarkovsky goes his own way treating Kelvin's development. Upon looking inside him, we feel incredible suffering, self-torturing and self-betrayal, and we acknowledge the joy and pain of memory, but also a certain ... uselessness of those feelings. From this point on, I could proceed in different directions, but I leave you to it.
Despite the horrible dialog, not-so-well handled goofy moments (the dwarf.....), and a slight structural imbalance, this is a life-defining movie for me.
why ever would anyone give it a bad rating?
this movie still stands along the "my fair lady", "The umbrellas of Cherbourg", the ideas are grand, Lem is a huge talent, to understand it is not easy, well, how was to write it?
I watched this movie many many times, and yet I find something new every single time I watch it.
Reading it is just as pleasurable as watching, we need more talents like Lem
Routinely called Tarkovsky's reply to Kubrick's "2001" -- But Kubrick's film is outward, charting man's next step in the universe, while Tarkovsky's is inward, asking about the nature and reality of the human personality.
A dreamlike examination of first contact, which gave me an insight into the story and its philosophy by creating an equivalent of schizophrenia. I have found kinda dynamics similar to horror movies, the stillness creating anxiety, the slowness almost bringing fear and the sheer beauty of the imagery causing conflict.
I can see why many people compare between Tarkovsky's Solaris and Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite both films have completely different themes, It's so clear that Tarkovsky was inspired by 2001 while making Solaris. But the influences have nothing with neither the themes nor the messages and the philosophy of the movie. Tarkovsky influenced by the style and the technical aspect of 2001: A Space Odyssey; the tone. some of the camera shots, the way of using the imagery (in some cases), and even the production design. With that said, I don't think there should be any comparison between the two films.
To be honest, I hate 2001, because I think it tells its relies so heavily on its message that there's almost no story to tell. It keeps repeating its messages, that we have already recognized from the get-go, throughout its running time. Adding insult to injury, it tries to be riveting by showing how wonderful the camera work is,how mesmerizing the cinematography is, how fascinating the production design is, how masterful the editing is, etc. While all these technical points made this movie the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, instead of relying on the technical aspect, I think it should have engaged us with the use of narrative elements, such as a dramatic plot, well-wrought and fleshed-out characters, or in a worst-case scenario, a mysterious event or even character. Fortunately, I think Solaris is way better than 2001. It has a fair share of metaphors, and also has fully-developed characters, a coherent plot, and powerful messages. The result is a movie that has a very comprehensive and engaging story that tugs at your heartstrings. Needless to say, the acting is great, the direction is masterful, and the cinematography and the production design are nothing but art! It's just the slow-pacing that sometimes I felt it wasn't necessary. Specially, before the climax as this should exactly be the time when I should be entirely focused, but I found that I get a little bored.
Some may find the messages are presented in a direct way and somehow in your face, but that was completely intended. It's the first Tarkovsky film I watch, but it's obvious that presenting the message in the dialogue is kinda his trademark. The characters don't reveal the message to put an end to the story. instead, they keep involving the viewers with the messages they discover along the movie. Can't wait to watch The Mirror and Stalker!
I wish I could say I liked this film as much as others, but it was simply too slow, too contemplative, and too philosophical for my taste. It was even amateurish in parts. There is a scene towards the beginning of the film where it starts raining on a bright sunny day. You can see shadows behind the obvious bad water effect. There is a camera transfixed on a pond for several minutes, a freeway sequence that goes on for about 10 minutes (a bathroom break I guess), and the camera showing close ups of various parts of a painting. There is even one scene where a rocket ship takes off inside a small room, and he stays in the room when it takes off. In real life he would be fried to bits. Here the back of his uniform catches fire and he gets a few blisters. I do think the film set of the inside of the space station looks pretty good, and overall the acting is good, and there are a few good visuals, but it really needed some editing. I say this as someone who loves slow paced films, like the film this one is always compared to, the great "2001 - A Space Odyssey" by Kubrick.
The pace unbelievable slow, so I almost fell asleep. The atmosphere and the dialogues are serious, and sometimes very boring. You can see the low budget and the cheap pictures. So after 40 minutes I ve had enough.
Je n'ai pas lu le bouquin de Lem mais soit il est difficilement adaptable, soit il s'agit d'un torche-cul épouvantable aussi lénifiant (Lemifiant...) que ses adaptations à dormir debout...
Et c'est vrai qu'avec ses deux heures et trois quarts, il est incroyablement difficile de ne pas piquer du nez dans ce théâtre filmé avec certes de bien pauvres moyens mais qui ne sont pas responsables de l'abrutissement général et généralisé provoqué ici. Je crois en tout cas que ce fut un film salutaire pour le régime soviétique puisqu'à l'issue de ce Ronflaris dont les ronflements de l'audience couvrait quasiment dans chaque salle les dialogues à teneur hautement soporifique, le bon camarade ouvrier et le fidèle moujik devaient se réveiller péniblement et pour ce faire, retournaient immédiatement à la maison finir la vodka commencée avant la séance.
Alors, quand tout le monde est soit endormi soit bourré, personne ne pense à critiquer qui ou quoi que ce soit. D'ailleurs, je suis dans le même état et ce n'est pas faute d'avoir essayé de "visionner" cette chose en deux fois et à chaque moitié, malgré moult cafés, la somnolence était incroyablement difficile à combattre ! malgré pourtant de fréquents accélérés avec la télécommande, bien entendu !
Aussi ne critiqué-je certainement pas ce chef-d'oeuvre du régime, cette oeuvre magnifique et très contemplative, très profonde et psychologique : je vide ma bouteille et je ferme ma gueule !
La note était soûle et a glissé sur le "0". Et elle y est restée. La pauvre.