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Solaris (Criterion Collection) (1972)

Cast: Natalya Bondarchuk, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet, more...
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Tarkovsky
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Cult, Foreign, Science Fiction , Russia, Criterion Collection
Languages: Russian
Subtitles: English
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Based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem, Solaris centers on widowed psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donata Banionis), who is sent to a space station orbiting a water-dominated planet called Solaris to investigate the mysterious death of a doctor, as well as the mental problems plaguing the dwindling number of cosmonauts on the station. Finding the remaining crew to be behaving oddly and aloof, Kelvin is more than surprised when he meets his seven-years-dead wife Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk) on the station. It quickly becomes apparent that Solaris possesses something that brings out repressed memories and obsessions within the cosmonauts on the space station, leaving Kelvin to question his perception of reality. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, Solaris was remade by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Commentary by Tarkovsky scholars Vida Johnson and Graham Petrie

GreenCine Member Ratings

Solaris (Criterion Collection) (1972)
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7.46 (551 votes)
Solaris (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (1972)
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7.37 (103 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Unwatchable by daneel77olivaw August 16, 2007 - 4:47 PM PDT
1 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Disjointed. Scenes of 1960s driving substituted pointlessly for the future. Had to hit stop. Wanted my life back.

A study in human patience...yours ! Good one though ! by PandT September 7, 2005 - 12:08 AM PDT
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
First of all this review is of the first version of Solaris, the one directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, not the recent Hollywood remake.

This film is not Sci-Fi for everyone, but everyone should try it once. It, like 2001: A Space Odyssey is a slow, laborious and fascinating look at the psychological and spiritually taxing effects of space travel on humans in precarious situations and locations.

The cerebrally hynotic story is basically about an emotionally empty cosmonaut/psychiatrist named Kelvin who travels to a space station above the planet Solaris to investigate some sort of serious trouble there, only to find a complex series of abstract situations that, somehow in time, bring him back to his base humanity.

Once on the space station Kelvin finds two cosmonaut/scientists who have locked themselves up to avoid what they are calling "vistors". The antagonist is also visited on board by the "living" double of his late wife, in what turns into a reacquiantance with the mate who had commited suicide.

The planet Solaris seems to have supernatural powers that actually manifest human-like characteristics. Is it hallucinatory or is it an external stimulus caused by the planet? This is causing the people on the space station to encounter visions in the form of pseudo-humans, as in the bodily duplicated, but emotionally different wife. Is Kelvin using his memory to control his "wife's" emotions and personality, as the planet Solaris is seemingly doing to the station's inhabitants, or is this "new" version of his wife growing emotionally on her own merit? Either way, we see a growth in Kelvin's own humanity and acceptance of spirituallity, albeit under very strange and unusual circumstances!

This is a weird, surreal and beautifully crafted film, it is more about the ambiguousness of the metaphysics of being human than it is about space travel or science.

Have plenty of coffee available while you watch this almost 3 hour study in human patience..yours! I've not seen the Soderburg version with George Clooney, I understand it is shorter and did poorly at the box-office. That's not hard to understand in this day and age of quick-fix art in general and in this case, movies. Tarkovsky's version would probably be even more boring to most. I liked this very original film.

Bo-o-oring by Trevin April 2, 2005 - 9:54 AM PST
5 out of 19 members found this review helpful
I watched the American remake of Solaris a couple of years ago -- or rather, tried to watch it. I fell asleep halfway through it. So it thought I'd watch the original Russian film so I could find out what the story was about.

It put me to sleep within the first hour.

There are many scenes in this film where nothing happens. You just see the camera panning around some scenery or paintings, or watch the actors walking or sitting around with no dialog. I sped up my DVD player to double speed during most of these parts, and they -still- seemed too long. There was one scene that simply consisted of watching a car drive through a city which must have been at least ten minutes -- no action, no dialog, just traffic and an occasional glimpse of the passengers staring out the window.

I forced myself to watch it the next morning but it didn't get any better. Besides the overly drawn-out pauses, the characters were dull, the acting was sub-par, and some of the things they said and did made no sense.

I can't say whether you should watch the remake of Solaris instead of this one, since I missed most of the newer version, but I definitely do NOT recommend this film.

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