Solyaris [Solaris] (1972)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum. They showed the film in comibination with Deimantas Narkevičius’ Revisiting Solaris in his presence and in the presence of Natalya Bondarchuk. Both also gave short talks about the respective films.]

Solyaris is Andrey Tarkovskiy‘s arguably most famous movie, based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem, starring Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet and Vladislav Dvorzhetsky.

The psychologist Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is sent to a space station which orbits the planet Solaris. Weird things have been happening there and Kelvin is supposed to look into it and see what’s going on. His assessment will decide whether the whole Solaris project should be continued or not. As soon as Kelvin arrives on the space stations, he finds his dead wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk) in his bed: apparently Solaris is trying to communicate with him through her.

Solaris is a very slow movie with a lot of seemingly unrelated sidenotes and little dialogue. This does not make for easy viewing and it will probably never become my favorite movie, but it was good to have seen it anyway. If only for Natalya Bondarchuk.

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