Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on June 7, 2012 at 6:15 PM


Andrei Tarkovsky


IDEA:  When pyschologist Kris Kelvin is sent up to the Solaris space station to warrant a diagnosis on the current mission, he begins experiencing the strange effects the alien planet has on the human mind.

BLURB:  Solaris is a film packed to the brim with spectacular ideas and tantalizing ontological questions, based on a conceit ingenious in its seamless linking of the science fiction with the quintessentially human. Like the best of the genre, it establishes a fantastical scenario as a means of symbolizing very real-world issues; in this case, the planet Solaris, as much a literal extraterrestrial entity as a metaphorical actualization of consciousness. Everything it does and knows, despite its alien nature, comes from humans themselves, its knowledge limited by our limited knowledge, its replication of reality hindered by our all-too narrow subjective experiences. This is a force, a thing, that doesn’t exist, yet Tarkovsky argues it’s Earth itself. Is the material world not simply a product of human thought, mirrors we’ve created to reflect back on us? Are our perceptions of ourselves and others not fundamentally situated on our constructed ideas of those things? If it sounds like I’m waxing philosophical, it’s because Solaris works better as a springboard for this thinking rather than a particularly absorbing movie in its own right. Because there is so much here to chew on, though, the staggeringly dull characters and aloof emotions can’t halt the insatiable human penchant for introspection.

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