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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 3:51 pm 
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criterionsnob wrote:

The "blue tinted" black-and-white sequences aren't quite as blue as I imagined they'd be! They do look quite alluring, however, so there is no disappointment here.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Roger Ryan wrote:
criterionsnob wrote:

The "blue tinted" black-and-white sequences aren't quite as blue as I imagined they'd be! They do look quite alluring, however, so there is no disappointment here.

Yeah, I was worried about that- the tinting isn't extreme enough to lessen the sharpness of the images, the way it sometimes does in silent movies. This is a no-question upgrade for me, now.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 7:14 am 
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bluray.com


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:50 am 
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I've watched the first half of the movie and am planning on finishing it this weekend. One of the things I most enjoyed about it is that it is a Sci-Fi film that has a relationship to earth. Further, there is no "this is the future" or "this is a far away time/place" that aims to "explain away" some of the potentially more fantastic ideas in the film. It starts on earth, in a regular town/house. They even reference Hiroshima. It's Sci-Fi-ness is still very connected to the earth we all know, and I think that's a huge strength.
In regards to the driving scenes, I took them, at least partially, as an illustration of the "future's" arrival. The contrast between the rural areas and the city driving is so strong, that it seems Solaris has more in common with the highways on earth than those highways have with the more rural areas.
Very much looking forward to finishing the film. Very bummed I bought it about a day or two before I heard of its blu-ray release.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:20 am 
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How many viewings of this film did it take before you saw something essential in it? Because I'm having a crisis over whether or not to pick up the Blu-ray... as much as I'd like to be enlightened, I can't help but find it all so boring.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:36 am 
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It's hardly essential. I picked it up because A. going for $15 and B. I find it rather fun. That said it is nothing special and is easily the weakest of his features what with the goofiness of the main theme and it's presentation. I'm actually heavily reminded of Metropolis on that account.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:00 am 
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I'm not sure 'goofy' is a term that comes to mind thinking about the themes- I mean, there's obviously some silly sci fi trappings to various things, but it's mostly a movie about trying to come to grips with loss and guilt, which hardly seem goofy to me. I realize there are other parts of the Tarkovsky canon that speak more directly to some parts of that, but I'm not sure any of them work as well for me as Solaris does.

As much as 'dreamlike' is an overused word for movies generally and Tarkovsky in particular, there are aspects of it that feel exactly like the dreams I had for years after my mother died, where I would clearly remember what had happened yet she would be there, talking to me- there's something about the literalness and the alienness of the manifestations in this that match that feeling perfectly.


Last edited by matrixschmatrix on Wed May 25, 2011 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:08 am 
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Like all of Tarkovsky's work there are moments from it I absolutely adore, but I wouldn't rank it as high as, say, Mirror (which is, for lack of a better term, the most beautiful film I've seen). My problem may lie more with the source material than the actual film though, as I revisited Soderbergh's version recently and was similarly underwhelmed, although admittedly I haven't read Lem's novel. It has been several years since my last viewing, so the film is sort of a blur of images in my mind, but it was one of my introductions to the world of international cinema, and my first viewing was quite frustrating. But there were moments that captured me and despite being ill-prepared for the film's languid pacing, it created a dream-like atmosphere that I've found impossible to forget.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:36 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
I'm not sure 'goofy' is a term that comes to mind thinking about the themes- I mean, there's obviously some silly sci fi trappings to various things, but it's mostly a movie about trying to come to grips with loss and guilt, which hardly seem goofy to me. I realize there are other parts of the Tarkovsky canon that speak more directly to some parts of that, but I'm not sure any of them work as well for me as Solaris does.
Maybe the themes themselves aren't terribly goofy (though you get a sense that Tarkovsky is just eloquently saying true love defeat all ills at times), but the way he goes about it (and again Murcoch is likely right that it comes from the source material more than Tarkovsky) feels like the repeating of the head and heart speech from Metropolis. The ideas are grand, but the execution almost has to be corny given the situation.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:41 am 
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knives wrote:
though you get a sense that Tarkovsky is just eloquently saying true love defeat all ills at times
Really? I never got that feeling, since it's not as though there's a happy ending and Kris gets to live with his dead wife forever- and the relationship between them is fairly complex, given that it's not clear if Kris ever loved his wife in the first place, and what he's encountering comes largely from his own head.
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and again Murcoch is likely right that it comes from the source material more than Tarkovsky
Nah, I've read the book, and it's mostly about Kris trying to communicate with the planet, and the impossible nature of trying to understand an extraterrestrial- the manifestations are it, but if they are, they and their relationships to the living aren't anything like the point.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:46 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
knives wrote:
though you get a sense that Tarkovsky is just eloquently saying true love defeat all ills at times
Really? I never got that feeling, since it's not as though there's a happy ending and Kris gets to live with his dead wife forever- and the relationship between them is fairly complex, given that it's not clear if Kris ever loved his wife in the first place, and what he's encountering comes largely from his own head.
That makes my point. He's at an absolute low before the film because love was an artificial construct for him, but once he fell in love with an artificial construct things get better for him emotionally if not environmentally. Maybe the statement should be passion rather than love, but it definitely takes the form of love in the movie.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:01 am 
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Hmm. I found there to be something transcendental in Kris making contact with something he didn't fully understand- something that's a hybrid of his memories and something completely alien- and choosing to commit himself to it. And also the sense that he's been given a shot at redemption, that he's willing to love a simulacrum rather than stay locked up within himself. I mean, Hari isn't entirely a manifestation of Kris's memories, and Kris is unique among the crew in managing to treat his visitor as a real person. He is also the one who manages to give his visitor up, and connect directly with the planet. the thing that is entirely alien.

I don't know, I'm not good at putting why the film moved me so much into words, but to me there's a difference between "Love Conquers All" and the film's blend of memory, ghosts, and otherness- all love can do is form a bridge between two things that wouldn't be able to make contact, otherwise. It's also possible that I'm just not that sophisticated, so the relatively banal can seem transcendental to me.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:11 am 
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I think it manages to mix both things your describing actually. It's just that me as a viewer I find the silly parts of that transcendence the most amusing.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:25 am 
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The emotions dealt with in this movie are of enormous complexity and ambiguity. Knives, pretty much all of your statements are (deliberate?) reductions and simplifications of things which are not ever resolved by the movie, and perhaps can never be resolved. Nothing in this movie should be summarisable in a sentence or two, at least not if it's to be described accurately.

As for your question, mfunk, as you can probably guess there is no formula for getting this movie. I appreciated it the first time I saw it, but it could take you several, even a dozen viewings--or maybe it'll never come alive for you. That said, it is, I think, worth the effort to find out. Moreover, it is a beautiful visual experience, and for that alone should be seen at least once on Blu-Ray. Give it a try. It may help if you let go a bit and allow its deliberately-paced rhythms to hypnotize you.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 2:35 am 
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There is a bit of deliberation to my reductions yes, but it's not to reduce the film so much as to get my point out quickly. I haven't disagreed with Matrix yet because he is technically right. That said I do feel you are overstating the film's ambiguity. I'm not able to watch the film right now so I can't get into all of the specifics I want to now that you've placed a challenge, but I do find that Tarkovsky is very forward within the film and all of the ideological loose ends are brought to a close with the film. His points could be summarized rather quickly, but like you said the way they connect creates complexity. I don't see ambiguity in that though.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:34 am 
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Kelvin loves, again, or anew, his reincarnated Hari. Then he is told at some point that the version of Hari that he shot out into space is probably still up there in that ship, that there are two Haris, and could be more if he wanted. The very nature and meaning of his love is complicated by the instability of its object--an object which may not be real and probably isn't unique (there's a question: how do you love an individual person whose identity isn't unique to him/her even to the slightest detail?). This is simply for Kelvin; what of Hari's feelings? Are her feelings real? In what sense? And if we grant them a reality, what becomes of the feelings expressed by the characters who populate our dreams? Can we truly be loved in our dreams, and love back, injure and be injured back? This movie spirals into a complex of philosophical and emotional issues, and I don't remember them being truly resolved, something which befits a movie whose finale just raises endless new problems and questions. I don't know how you can fail to see ambiguity in a movie that takes the ambiguous nature of love, memory, and reality as its subject.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:03 am 
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Like i said to really answer those questions I'd have to rewatch it which is something I can't do right now and those questions don't really tie into my original comments. This is probably and sadly will go into an argument of semantics, but I feel that the film answers those questions to an extent. It is an other play into how those issues are complex from their interconnectedness, but they are not impossible to form an answer for. I find that the film is not about those things that you claim it to be, but that Tarkovsky explores those things to form an opinion on the matter at hand which is closer to how does love aid us. That doesn't mean that there is a total lack of ambiguity in what you asked (within the realm of the film) either though. I can't really answer those questions either in the way I would answer them or the film does. To continue my comments of believing the film to ultimately be optimistic the film seems to suggest that the belief in having emotion is enough. That tumbles into everything else you asked, but I'm not eloquent enough to explain it with the appropriate attention (especially on the fly like this).

Okay that was really bad on my part, but I hope you are able to figure out what I'm trying to say through all of this.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:40 am 
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I don't understand what you're trying to get across.

knives wrote:
I find that the film is not about those things that you claim it to be, but that Tarkovsky explores those things to form an opinion on the matter at hand which is closer to how does love aid us.

You just got through insisting that you were not trying to simplify the movie, yet once again you've grabbed just one single aspect of of it, formulated it into a banality, and then insisted that this--and none of the other aspects--is what it's all about, like some pat little moral at the end of a fable. This is especially annoying because you don't seem to understand the things you've been saying. You've mentioned a couple of times that the issues of the movie are complexly interconnected, yet here you are denying any complex interaction of issues and saying instead that everything boils down to a very uncomplex generality about whether love helps us or not.

knives wrote:
This is probably and sadly will go into an argument of semantics, but I feel that the film answers those questions to an extent.

Even you can't help adding that any answers provided are limited and cannot cover the scope of the questions raised.

knives wrote:
It is an other play into how those issues are complex from their interconnectedness, but they are not impossible to form an answer for.

How do you know? Issues that lie at the very limits of thought actually do resist answers. And many issues that don't, admit of competing answers which philosophy is still trying to work through.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 5:46 am 
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Mr Sausage wrote:
How do you know? Issues that lie at the very limits of thought actually do resist answers. And many issues that don't, admit of competing answers which philosophy is still trying to work through.

Or in other words-
The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

Sausage you are Donald Rumsfeld aka Kolley Kibber and I claim the prize.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:37 am 
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My recollection of the book is that the English version was a translation not of the original Polish book but of the German translation of that book. It is the least successful of the translated Lem books I've read (too bad Michael Kandel wasn't given the opportunity to translate this from the original).


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:40 am 
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Is the book worth reading? (Note: I only speak English)

Will it help one understand the Tarkovsky film more clearly?


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:40 am 
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So can people officially recommend the blu-ray yet? I'm very tempted to buy it, but the review on bluray.com wasn't exactly glowing...


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:46 am 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
How many viewings of this film did it take before you saw something essential in it? Because I'm having a crisis over whether or not to pick up the Blu-ray... as much as I'd like to be enlightened, I can't help but find it all so boring.

Are you fond of other Tarkovsky films? I would say SOLARIS is "of-a-piece" with his other work, but consider it one of his less impressive efforts for the same reason the scholars note in the commentary: the director has no interest in maintaining a logic to the storyline. Within the first half-hour, you already have a number of contradictions regarding when the original cosmonaut traveled to Solaris, the decision to dismantle the space station and, then, the plan to send Kelvin there. Combined with the interminable drive through the "city of the future" (Tokyo), the film starts off quite awkwardly. Tarkovsky seems to be fighting the source material and really wants the film to be about something other than what Lem intended it to be about.

The film works best for me if I accept the whole of it to be Kelvin's viewpoint after he has been absorbed by Solaris where the jumble of images and illogical plotting can be explained away somewhat.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:02 am 

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Since when has it become a truism that Solaris is one of his inferior works? Just because a few scholars hold such an opinion doesn't make it the gospel. Roger, my point is everything you just wrote is merely an opinion on why you think it's a weak film. It's not fact, so I would just appreciate it if people could start out their posts by saying, "I think it's one of his weaker efforts, because..." That's all. In either case, this is the first time I've ever seen Solaris referred to in this light, as being one of Tarkovsky's weaker films, not that it means anything.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:26 am 
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Drucker wrote:
So can people officially recommend the blu-ray yet? I'm very tempted to buy it, but the review on bluray.com wasn't exactly glowing

Yeah, according to them it is one of the weaker BD's CC has put out. Mine is on order and doesn't come until Friday. They still said it was a drastic improvement over the DVD though.


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