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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Solaris (1972)

A psychologist (Donatas Banionis) is sent to a space station to evaluate the strange occurrences taking place. The mission's aim is to study an ocean on the planet Solaris but the ocean seems to have an intelligence of its own. Alien life forms appear to the few remaining scientists born from their consciousness and their memories. This engrossing and complex but unnecessarily overlong science fiction is more cerebral than most sci-fi films. Closer to 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY than STAR WARS. But Andrei Tarkovsky's slow methodical takes and traveling shots challenges (not necessarily in a good way) the viewer but if you stick with it, there are rewards to be had as it dissects man's inability to connect with himself. Provocative without being pretentious. Stunningly shot by Vadim Yusov. Based on the book by the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem, who reputedly disliked what Tarkovsky did to his novel. The funereal score is by Eduard Artemiev. With Natalya Bondarchuk, Juri Jarvet and Anatoliy Solonitsyn.

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