Both engrossing and alienating, 'Solaris' was Tarkovsky's response to Kubrick's slightly earlier '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The Russian director took issue with what he saw as Kubrick's fetishising of new technology: 'Kubrick is intoxicated with all this and he forgets about man, about his moral problems,' he declared. As such, Tarkovsky's mystical and powerful film sees cosmonaut Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) travel to a troubled (and breathtakingly-designed) space station that hovers above the planet Solaris. Once there, he is forced to deal with the recent suicide of his wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk), who is mysteriously resurrected by the strange force of the nearby planet. Tarkovsky mixes sci-fi ephemera with solid human enquiry. The camerawork alone is wondrous. Shame then, that the film's climax has all the rigour of 'Planet of the Apes'. Still, it's a smart response to the superficial excesses of the sci-fi genre.
Cast and crew