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 Post subject: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:37 pm 

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Solaris

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Ground control has been receiving strange transmissions from the remaining residents of the Solaris space station. When cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to investigate, he experiences the strange phenomena that afflict the Solaris crew, sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his own consciousness. In Solaris, the legendary Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky gives us a brilliantly original science-fiction epic that challenges our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital restoration (with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- Audio essay by Andrei Tarkovsky scholars Vida Johnson and Graham Petrie, coauthors of The Films of Andrei Tarkovsky: A Visual Fugue
- Nine deleted and alternate scenes
- Video interviews with actress Natalya Bondarchuk, cinematographer Vadim Yusov, art director Mikhail Romadin, and composer Eduard Artemyev
- Excerpt from a documentary about Stanislaw Lem, the author of the film’s source novel
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Phillip Lopate and an appreciation by director Akira Kurosawa



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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:50 pm 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
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Stig Helmer wrote:
I've been thinking about buying this title for some time now...But i have not seen any other films by Tarkovskij. Can someone please say a few words about "Solaris", because i'm really curious about this title and somehow it has not been discussed very much on this forum...

Oh, I should also mention that i have tried to watch Kubricks 2001 many times....and i must admit to myself that even though i really really want to like the film i can help finding it extremely boring....And i undestand that "Solaris" is often compared to "2001".

If you found 2001 to be boring, than Solaris will be a big sleep fest for you. Not that it is, mind you. It's simply not your typical sci-fi movie...it's one of the "brainiest" sci-fi movies ever in the sense that the speculative elements take place almost entirely in the perception of the characters.

Having said that, it took me a very long time to "get" Tarkovsky. His films, with the exception of Andrei Rublev have little of what one would call action (and I don't mean "action" in terms of blowing shit up or car chases or anything like that). His films are deeply spiritual and formal. To a cursory viewer they come across as major yawners.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:55 pm 

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I have no no problem at all with films without "action", but somehow "2001" didn't get to me. And i was hoping that Tarkovskij had a different aproach to sci-fi than Kubrick.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:01 pm 
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Well, the Star Wars trilogy has been reissued. Maybe you should go pick that up if you haven't already.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:09 pm 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
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Quote:
i was hoping that Tarkovskij had a different aproach to sci-fi than Kubrick.

He does. They are nothing alike.

Tribe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:00 pm 
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Solaris is a great film, but it is much slower than 2001.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:02 pm 
I don't view SOLARIS as science fiction at all. It is a Tarkovsky film, it moves slowly and beautifully, it is thoughtful, human and metaphysical. It is unlike the book it was based upon in the sense that Tarkovsy avoided space as much as possible and focussed on earth instead. I'm not a sci-fi fan and I love this film. I recommend it if you like relaxed, intelligent films.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:15 pm 
The Bastard Spawn of Hank Williams
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Quote:
I don't view SOLARIS as science fiction at all. It is a Tarkovsky film, it moves slowly and beautifully, it is thoughtful, human and metaphysical.

Excellent point...the sci-fi trappings, to the extent that elements from Lem's novel still exist in the film, are so secondary to the greater preoccupations that Tarkovsky brings to this that it really shouldn't be pigeon-holed in any genre.

Tribe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:52 am 
wax on; wax off
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Yeah, I'd say that Solaris does a good job breaking away from the science fiction genre...much more spiritual.

You found it slower than 2001? I know this isn't a good way to judge a film but I found 2001 painfully slow, cold, and empty. Solaris was just full of beautiful images, a profound love of nature--I could watch that opening "hike" over and over again. And Hari is eye candy!

In contrast, 2001's most engaging character was probably Hal.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:50 am 
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Hari is stunning! Solaris is indeed full of beautiful images, and it's just an all around great film. As far as 2001 goes, they are vastly different in almost all aspects, but Solaris seems to be the slower of the two, though it is true that a lot more happens in Solaris than in 2001 (more dialogue, the general story seems more defined {i.e., it makes more sense, more human drama}). I suppose 2001 is 'slower'...I probably need to watch both again.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:34 pm 
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If you're iffy about Solaris, start your Tarkovsky journey with Andrey Rublyov. I'm a big Tarkovsky Fan, but find Solaris one of his weaker films. Rublyov has a lot more going on, visually, plot-wise and intellectually, and comes in bite-sized chapters that make it much more approachable. Coming to Solaris after you've seen a couple of other Tarkovskies makes it much more than just an arty science fiction film.

Whatever you decide, get some Tarkovsky in your diet a.s.a.p!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:36 pm 
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I'm not a particular fan of science fiction myself, but I'm always amused to observe that when the genre coughs up something with real artistic merit to it (either novels or films), there are inevitably those who try to find some way to decide it's not really science fiction and therefore ok to like and respect.

By dictionary definition, "Solaris" is science fiction. It's accurate classification and diminishes the film not one jot. C'mon, let the poor geeks have some trophies to point to beyond the Enterprise model hanging from their bedroom ceiling.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:33 am 
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starmanof51 wrote:
I'm not a particular fan of science fiction myself, but I'm always amused to observe that when the genre coughs up something with real artistic merit to it (either novels or films), there are inevitably those who try to find some way to decide it's not really science fiction and therefore ok to like and respect.

So true, so true. Where is Brother Henrik to help me raise the proud flag of SF?

It's because many snob-tending critics have the same view that middlebrow mainstream critics have, namely that all SF is the kind of excrement that Lucas and his many lame imitatiors produce.

As I've written here and at the Board's various precursors, Lucas and Roger Corman have essentially sullied SF as a genre for the forseeable future, in spite of it producing much, especially in written form, that stands alongside anything from any other genre in terms of it's aesthetic merit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:02 am 
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starmanof51 wrote:
By dictionary definition, "Solaris" is science fiction. It's accurate classification and diminishes the film not one jot. C'mon, let the poor geeks have some trophies to point to beyond the Enterprise model hanging from their bedroom ceiling.

And yet Lem himself was/is very wary of the concept "science fiction" -- and very resistent to being classified as a "science fiction writer".

In any event -- I love "Solaris" (1) -- however it's categorized. ;~}


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:41 pm 
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I agree - it's absurd to say Solaris is anything but a science fiction film. For one thing, Hari isn't human. She isn't just a construction of Kris' mind, she's an interpretation of his mind by the planet's intelligence. I think this element gives the story, and Hari's character, the slightly disturbing quality which is so essential to its power.

While I agree that Solaris isn't Tarkovsky's best, it's still a Tarkovsky which places it high on my list. People who find it "boring" should consider an additional viewing or two. Tarkovsky in general takes a different viewing discipline from, say, Star Wars. The viewer needs to have a higher degree of patience than that required for made-for-ADD blockbusters.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:46 pm 
wax on; wax off
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Mirror, Solaris, and Rublev--three brilliant works...not necessarily in that order. Rublev is fairly straight forward, but the other two benefit from repeat viewings. Love 'em...

But if you want boring...Stalker, Nostalgia, Sacrifice. Lord, if I could only have those 8 hours back, especially Nostalgia's 2+...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:13 pm 

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Watching "2001" or "Solaris" on a small screen is to "reduce" information in a way. And one can argue that it, in a way, is against the very premise of the film to watch it on a small screen, when the movie itself is so large in scale, when it come to the images projected. It certainly takes some of the "feeling" and "meaning" of the movie away.

Roger Eberts commentary was very well put, i think. And his commentary made med think of Proust...:

Reading Proust, which is, to say the least, not very action-packed or "entertaining", is the same thing, The very length, the many pages, bares the very "meaning" itself. When you read Proust time is an important factor in itself. You really get a feeling and sense of "time" - and thereby yourself - when you read it, because the many pages remind you of it again and again. Maybe the same thing can be said about "Solaris"?

Anyway, I have ordered "Solaris". I am just to curious about it now...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:36 pm 

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IMHO 2001 and Solaris are quite similar plot-wise but I would say they are even more similar in the way they leave you with a feeling of understanding/knowledge/comprehension rather than understanding/knowledge/comprehension itself which is at the same time fascinating and frustrating because at the end of the film, I think I get it but after a while thinking about it I realize I haven't got the message... and then I'm ready to do the whole process over again.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:15 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:07 pm
I love the film, and wrote a very long review at: http://www.epinions.com/content_84829965956 . It also includes a review of the Criterion DVD.

It's not my habit to write 2000-word reviews, but this is a special movie for me.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:51 am 
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If you understand Russain this films is even more precious.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:34 pm 

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kortik wrote:
If you understand Russain this films is even more precious.

Care to elaborate?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:33 pm 
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Did anyone else find the driving scene to be aesthetically wonderful? The commentaters suggest that he made it lengthy for other reasons than artistic but I found it beautiful. Also, agreed about the hike in the beginning. The hike and the driving tend to stick in my mind much more than the floating scene.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:49 pm 
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The first time I watched this (on the fox lorber widescreen VHS), I thought the driving scene was the one big weakness. I've seen it 7 times now (including once in 35mm), and have liked the driving scene more each time I saw it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:07 pm 
wax on; wax off
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blindside8zao wrote:
Did anyone else find the driving scene to be aesthetically wonderful? The commentaters suggest that he made it lengthy for other reasons than artistic but I found it beautiful. Also, agreed about the hike in the beginning. The hike and the driving tend to stick in my mind much more than the floating scene.

The driving scene takes me completely out of the film. Since the third time I watched it I now skip it or time my kitchen fridge visits according ot it. I know that's probably anathema but it's the only scene in any movie I do that to, so I'm not all bad.

Count me as someone who loves Tarkovsky or at least some of his movies but who passionately dislikes Stalker. And Nostalghia. And the Sacrifice.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:11 pm 
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I adore the driving sequence. When I first saw the restored print in a theater, a guy a few rows in front of me apparently got so bored with it that he started reading a newspaper, holding the thing up in front of his face and anyone sitting behind him. I wanted to pull an Ignatz on him.


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