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Year: 1972
UK: Contemporary Films
Cast: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Juri Jarvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai Grinko, Anatoli Solonitsyn O Barnet, V Kerdimun, O Kizilova, Tatyana Malykh, A Misharin, B Oganesyan, Tamara Ogorodnikova, S Sarkisyan, Yu Semyonov, V Statsinsky, V Sumenova, G Tejkh
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Country: USSR
Language: Russian (English subtitles)
UK: 166 mines
UK Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 18 February 2005 (Limited Release - London - NFT)


Tarkovsky's third feature, SOLARIS came out at a time when the 'space race' between America and the Soviet Union was still very much an ongoing affair. It might have been expected that a science fiction film, set in the Soviet future, would reflect on this political and technological rivalry. On the contrary: the most extraordinary thing about SOLARIS is the melancholy scepticism with which it seems to regard the entire adventure. SOLARIS is a spiritual odyssey - as the best science fiction always is: a journey inwards into the soul's interior, as much as outwards to the edges of the solar system (where a scientist investigates the mysterious force wreaking havoc among the crew of a space station orbiting the planet Solaris). 'I would like to make the viewer become aware of the beauty of our planet,' Tarkovsky wrote provocatively on the film's release, 'to freely and joyfully breathe the ordinariness of Earth.' Thirty years on, Tarkovsky's movie (blessed with stunning art direction, and beautifully mounted in 'scope and colour) retains its mysterious authority. Along with its near-contemporary, Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, it has to be considered one of the indispensable works of filmic science fiction.

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