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Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Solaris versus Solyaris
Topic by: Eoliano
Posted: December 3, 2002 - 2:43 PM PST
Last Reply: February 28, 2003 - 5:29 PM PST

author topic: Solaris versus Solyaris
Eoliano
post #1  on December 3, 2002 - 2:43 PM PST  


Having seen Tarkovsky's film in the Seventies and recently again on the new Criterion DVD, I am looking forward to seeing Soderbergh's new film adaptation this weekend, although with some apprehension. Any comments and arguments will be welcome.

Criterion's transfer of Solaris is brilliant, and bears little resemblance to the recent broadcasts on IFC and Turner, each of which had their differences, and both sources must have been from tapes.
yulek
post #2  on December 3, 2002 - 8:49 PM PST  
all i know i there's no way it'll top the book. tarkovsky made a wonderful film, but he didn't come close to the psychology probed in lem's book.

i will also see Solaris, i've like SS's films in general. he seems a thoughtful guy.

also, Salon liked it and since they are great at slamming crappy stuff, my hopes are that it'll be a decent film.
Eoliano
post #3  on December 4, 2002 - 10:37 AM PST  

> all i know i there's no way it'll top the book. tarkovsky made a wonderful film, but he didn't come close to the psychology probed in lem's book.
>

It's usually impossible to faithfully adapt a book into a film, but there are successful film adaptations, and some happen to be my favorites. Two films that work for me in this regard are Visconti's Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) and Bertolucci's Il Conformista (The Conformist). Both managed to convey something of the inner workings of their characters.

The Soderbergh films I have most enjoyed thus far have been Out of Sight and The Limey.


yulek
post #4  on December 4, 2002 - 10:23 PM PST  
well, i saw Solaris tonight and i REALLY liked it. couple of small quirks that annoyed me (Jeremy Davies wants to be Crispin Glover a bit too much) but overall a very beautiful and mysterious film. even more removed from Lem's novel than Tarkovsky's film and you know, that's perfect as i will enjoy owning all three.

Soderbergh has yet to disappoint.
oldkingcole
post #5  on December 5, 2002 - 1:00 AM PST  
> On December 4, 2002 - 10:23 PM PST yulek wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> well, i saw Solaris tonight and i REALLY liked it. couple of small quirks that annoyed me (Jeremy Davies wants to be Crispin Glover a bit too much)

I thought he was channeling Brad Pitt from "Twelve Monkeys". :-)

> but overall a very beautiful and mysterious film. even more removed from Lem's novel than Tarkovsky's film and you know, that's perfect as i will enjoy owning all three.

Yulek, I guess I liked it a little less than you did, but I still liked it. Yes, in its mood and pacing, it was strong. Ultimately, I felt there were some -- how to put it? -- morality? issues that the film raises but doesn't really address.

Clooney and McElhone were both perfectly cast -- especially McElhone, whose exotic beauty effortlessly crosses the line into alienness under the unflinching stare of Soderbergh's lens.

As a long-time film music fan, I enjoyed the fact that the credits were held until the end. This allowed me to play "guess the composer" throughout the film. I was guessing long-time David Cronenberg collaborator "Howard Shore" for most of the film, which is a high compliment to the actual composer Cliff Martinez. His music also hugged the line between beauty and the alien and was extremely effective in conveying and sustaining the film's particular brand of moodiness.

Structurally, I liked some of the dichotomies the film presented. There's the obvious one between fantasy and reality, of course, but I also enjoyed the contrast between Helen Gordon (the physicist), and Rheya. One has the total will to live; the other, almost none at all. And the screenplay is very tight. It doesn't beat you over the head with things. Instead, it is enough for an idea to be stated once. So we get the dinner-party conversation about the nature/existence of God, and that's enough for us to see the hint that Solaris might meet the definition of at least one of the guests. Only the poem seemed to be a bit over-sold. Its repetition reminded me of the repeated quotation of Eckhart in Jacob's Ladder.

I also liked the look of the film. It had a very late-1960's/early-1970's feel to it. Combined with the deliberate pacing and the generally cerebral tone, it was probably no accident that this look made me think of 2001.

I know I'm probably the only person on the planet who liked Event Horizon, but when I saw that film I was very aware that it was, essentially, Solaris. It played up the alien/horror aspects more, and was was definitely a more commercially-oriented film, but it tells nearly the identical story. It was a little bit hard for me to watch this new Solaris without comparing its take on the story with Anderson's version in Event Horizon. These two films might make an interesting double feature. Or, maybe not.
yulek
post #6  on December 5, 2002 - 11:50 AM PST  
the soundtrack was incredible. too bad there were two sequences that the Martinez departed his own brooding mood and entered a dissonant segment WAY WAY WAY too reminiscent of György Ligeti's Atmospheres from 2001.

also, i find it funny how no science fiction movie can be made with at least one scene where you see all the control lights in the cockpit of some spacecraft reflected in the helmet visor of a main character :)

man, kubrick really left a mark.
yulek
post #7  on December 5, 2002 - 12:01 PM PST  
> I thought he was channeling Brad Pitt from "Twelve Monkeys". :-)

ya, i've heard that from a lot of people, but i respectfully disagree. maybe his hand motions, but his manner of speaking was pure Crispin (specifically in "River's Edge")

> Yulek, I guess I liked it a little less than you did, but I still liked it. Yes, in its mood and pacing, it was strong. Ultimately, I felt there were some -- how to put it? -- morality? issues that the film raises but doesn't really address.

that's what i loved about it. that aspect of it is very faithful to Lem's book, which is one i've cherished since i was 10 years old (i'm originally from Poland and have read Solaris in both Polish and English)

> Clooney and McElhone were both perfectly cast -- especially McElhone, whose exotic beauty effortlessly crosses the line into alienness under the unflinching stare of Soderbergh's lens.

yes! and the closeups were amazing. really well acted, i'm more and more respectful of Clooney's abilities. he's quite versitile (i mean, look at O'Brother... :)

> As a long-time film music fan, I enjoyed the fact that the credits were held until the end. This allowed me to play "guess the composer" throughout the film. I was guessing long-time David Cronenberg collaborator "Howard Shore" for most of the film, which is a high compliment to the actual composer Cliff Martinez. His music also hugged the line between beauty and the alien and was extremely effective in conveying and sustaining the film's particular brand of moodiness.

i guessed Martinez right away since he also did Traffic and that had the same broodiness to it. i do think he blew a perfect soundtrack with that Atmospheres influenced segment when Kalvin is remembering Rhea's suicide.

> Structurally, I liked some of the dichotomies the film presented. There's the obvious one between fantasy and reality, of course, but I also enjoyed the contrast between Helen Gordon (the physicist), and Rheya. One has the total will to live; the other, almost none at all.

yes, great point. and that was something that Lem didn't as well in the book. Soderbergh has always struck me as very introspective to human interaction. Lem is, in real life, a manic recluse. all of his human interactions are very superficial. however, he does understand psychology well, in fact, the psychology of solaris is simply astounding (have you read the book, by the way)

> And the screenplay is very tight. It doesn't beat you over the head with things. Instead, it is enough for an idea to be stated once. So we get the dinner-party conversation about the nature/existence of God, and that's enough for us to see the hint that Solaris might meet the definition of at least one of the guests.

yeah, i found that scene excellent, and that's purely Soderbergh, there was nothing of the sort in the book.

> Only the poem seemed to be a bit over-sold. Its repetition reminded me of the repeated quotation of Eckhart in Jacob's Ladder.

well you're really nitpicking now :) but i do agree. it's was overt.

> I also liked the look of the film. It had a very late-1960's/early-1970's feel to it. Combined with the deliberate pacing and the generally cerebral tone, it was probably no accident that this look made me think of 2001.

i absolutely love what Soderbergh does with color. as a color maniac myself, i always enjoy how he plays with the lighting and chemical developing of his film.

> I know I'm probably the only person on the planet who liked Event Horizon, but when I saw that film I was very aware that it was, essentially, Solaris. It played up the alien/horror aspects more, and was was definitely a more commercially-oriented film, but it tells nearly the identical story. It was a little bit hard for me to watch this new Solaris without comparing its take on the story with Anderson's version in Event Horizon. These two films might make an interesting double feature. Or, maybe not.

wow, now here i just don't see the comparison. i didn't HATE event horizon, but i don't see what it has to do with Solaris. that's a real stretch man.
oldkingcole
post #8  on December 5, 2002 - 1:22 PM PST  
> On December 5, 2002 - 12:01 PM PST yulek wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > I thought he was channeling Brad Pitt from "Twelve Monkeys". :-)
>
> ya, i've heard that from a lot of people, but i respectfully disagree. maybe his hand motions, but his manner of speaking was pure Crispin (specifically in "River's Edge")

I haven't seen "River's Edge", so of course that role didn't come to mind for me. His hand gestures were reminiscent of Pitt's in Twelve Monkeys, and his oblique, dazed manner of speaking reminded me of Pitt's stoner character from True Romance.

Even so, he had several moments on-screen in Solaris that were terrific.

>[...](have you read the book, by the way)

It's been, probably, 15 - 20 years since I last read the book, so I'm afraid I really don't remember much about it at this point. I thought about re-reading it (in its English translation) again before seeing the new movie version, but I'm in the midst of moving and everything -- including my copy of Lem's Solaris -- is in boxes right now, so I didn't get a chance.

>[...]
> > Only the poem seemed to be a bit over-sold. Its repetition reminded me of the repeated quotation of Eckhart in Jacob's Ladder.
>
> well you're really nitpicking now :) but i do agree. it's was overt.

Agreed. I'm being picky on this point. I'll point out also that I really like Lynne's Jacob's Ladder a lot, so being reminded of Jacob's Ladder isn't really much of a slam.

> > I know I'm probably the only person on the planet who liked Event Horizon, but when I saw that film I was very aware that it was, essentially, Solaris. It played up the alien/horror aspects more, and was was definitely a more commercially-oriented film, but it tells nearly the identical story. It was a little bit hard for me to watch this new Solaris without comparing its take on the story with Anderson's version in Event Horizon. These two films might make an interesting double feature. Or, maybe not.
>
> wow, now here i just don't see the comparison. i didn't HATE event horizon, but i don't see what it has to do with Solaris. that's a real stretch man.

Really? The similarity is so blatant to me I assumed that Event Horizon was intentionally riffing on Solaris. I mean, let's see... SPOILER WARNING -- Read no further if you don't want to know anything about the plot to Solaris or Event Horizon!!!

****


The characters go to a space station, are contacted by an intelligence that is so alien that the only way it can communicate with them is by manifesting their memories. The main character is suffering from guilt over his wife's suicide. He is understandably upset when his wife appears on the station. Another character's child (son, in both films) inexplicably appears on the station. And for some reason, the alien intelligence doesn't seem to want to let the humans return to Earth.

Ok, which movie am I describing? Right, both. See my point? :-)
yulek
post #9  on December 5, 2002 - 10:11 PM PST  
hmm, i thought Event Horizon was about a trip to hell :)
oldkingcole
post #10  on December 5, 2002 - 10:17 PM PST  
> On December 5, 2002 - 10:11 PM PST yulek wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> hmm, i thought Event Horizon was about a trip to hell :)
> ---------------------------------
Right, and Solaris is about a trip to Heaven. Kind of. (I'm oversimplifying a bit). But the framework of the tale is very similar at the core. Event Horizon degenerates at the end into pure genre silliness, but until then, I thought it channeled the ghost of Solaris rather effectively.

yulek
post #11  on December 6, 2002 - 8:48 AM PST  
> On December 5, 2002 - 10:17 PM PST oldkingcole wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Event Horizon degenerates at the end into pure genre silliness, but until then, I thought it channeled the ghost of Solaris rather effectively.
> ---------------------------------

i'll have to watch it again keeping that in mind.

Eoliano
post #12  on February 28, 2003 - 5:29 PM PST  
Soderbergh's film is a success in Europe, claim's kamera.co.uk: "Well, it's a US commercial and critical nosedive for Soderbergh and Clooney, but a success d'estime in Europe. Todd Harbour applauds one of the most intelligent American movies of the year".

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