Solaris (7/10)



Ground control has been receiving strange transmissions from the three 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. Based on the novel by the same name from Polish author Stanislaw Lem.

Title Solaris
Director Andrei Tarkovsky
Runtime 2 h 47 min
Release Date 20 March 1972
IMDb Id tt0069293

Comparing this 1972 Russian classic to modern cinema, it is not an easy watch in that it is extremely slow… but stick with it, as that snail’s pace is an important part of the experience. It allows you to reflect on what is going on, because frankly – it doesn’t seem to make much sense for the first hour and a half or so.

Kris Kelvin is a psychologist sent on a mission to a space station orbiting ocean planet Solaris to evaluate the situation. Before departing for the space station he is informed of some strange phenomena that seem to take place on the planet and the space station, but like the viewer, hoe doesn’t quite know how to interpret this information. As he arrives at the space station it immediately becomes clear that things are strange. Very strange.

Over the next day or so, Kris starts to find out what is going on by experiencing these phenomena first hand as his wife who committed suicide 10 years ago appears to be on the space station… Solaris seems to harbour some kind of intelligent life form that taps into the crew’s thoughts. The How and the Why are not important for the movie. It really explores the emotional impact on the crew, and in particular on Kris, of having these Solaris Visitors appear by their sides.

Through its slow pace and linear storytelling, it creates an intriguing plot – there is no spoonfeeding or moralising done for you. And whilst in the end you do actually sort of find out what is going on (the What, still not the How or the Why), it is really a movie exploring human relationships, leaving you with ample room for questions and interpretation.

So, maybe not an easy watch but worth it.


Solaris (7/10)
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