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Director:Andrei Tarkovsky
Cast:Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bandarchuk, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai Grinko, Anatoli Solonitsyn
Screen Writer:Andrei Tarkovsky
Release Date:1972
Genre:Foreign, Science fiction, Classic

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted 1/21/2004

John Lennon reportedly once said that a temple should be constructed for the sole purpose of screening Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey 24 hours a day. That temple may not exist, but Kubrick's film has garnered such a lofty rep over the years that it practically oversees its own denomination. All the more reason to afford Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film Solaris--often (if crudely) referred to as the Russian answer to Kubrick's sci-fi triumph, and certainly that film's equal--one modest little steeple somewhere. Here Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) arrives at a space station where a death and some apparitions have led the two remaining crew members to theorize that the swirling surface of the planet Solaris is a sentient being capable of reading human minds. Kris remains unimpressed until confronted by repeated visitations from echoes of his late ex-wife. Perhaps the perfect film to play on an endless loop, not simply for its narrative's subtle potential for psychological disorientation, but also for the overpowering majesty of its visual composition (in both black and white and color). Far superior to Steven Soderbergh's moody, unjustly maligned 2002 adaptation of the same Stanislaw Lem novel.

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