Solaris (1972)

"Whenever we show pity, we empty our souls." Kevin

"Whenever we show pity, we empty our souls." Kevin


Solaris (1972) is a haunting Russian Sci-Fi cinematic poem on love, reality and the past.

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Starring Donatas Banionis and Natalya Bondarchuk.

Solaris' pace is purposefully slow, so as to allow the audience the time to reflect and fill in the missing components of the characters and their stories.

As an audience member, my first viewing was painful. This was due to the fact that the films slow pace gave my mind the time to reflect on my past. No matter how hard I tried to focus on the present film scenes, the long sustained visuals kept taking me back to places I had long put away. As an actor I was left speechless, because at first I did not understand what the director Andrei was doing to me. After about the first thirty minutes I let go and was taken on a fascinating journey of my and the characters inner life.

Solaris makes you question what love is. Are we in love with a person or the idea of that person. Let the film help you answer that for yourself through the relationship that develops between Donatas and Natalya. The next theme for Solaris to explore was to help us question what constitutes reality. Again, let the film by way of an astounding, performance by Natalya help you to travel that world within yourself and the relationships you share with your loved ones. Natalya is simply mesmerizing. As an actor I would be in heaven doing scenes with an actress sharing so freely her inner life. Natalya kept drawing me in with her deep understanding of the complexity of the subject matter she was asked to explore with her audience and fellow scene partners. The final theme Solaris explores is your past. The actor Donatas beautifully helps us as audience members deal with our past by unlocking his. As the film slowly progresses the theme of our pasts takes the entire film to traverse. The conclusion with our past is that we have to study it carefully and then accept it before we can move on.

The visual ending upturns the whole movie's themes in a way that is beyond description. Visually, Solaris' ending is an mystifying as the ending in Michelangelo Antonioni's L 'Eclisse - The Eclipse (1962).
Get ready for the journey you have been avoiding your whole life. If you are a film maker with an empty wallet for your Sci-Fi film study Solaris. Andrei did Solaris on a micro Soviet era Ruble budget. In the scene below let the visuals engage your subconscious. See what starts brewing in your mind. Let the images help you to open up within yourself.

Trivia - The scene where Breton is riding back in the car was filmed in Osaka and Toyko, Japan. Andrei's  wrote in his journal, that they had just missed the World's Fair. Andrei filmed in Japan, because he wanted to make the audiences in Russia feel like they were in the future.