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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:29 am 

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Folks - b/c Solaris contains both b&w & colour images, the intermediate and release prints would have to have been made from colour stock. When printing a b&w image to colour film stock, it's impossible to get a 'pure' b&w due to imperfections in the chemical development process. One reel will come out very slightly blue, another slightly green, another slightly red and the result is a disaster. Therefore, it is/was common practice to add a tint to the image (usually blue) in such a scenario, to create some degree of controllable conformity to the images. For home video, of course, this tint isn't necessary, so who knows how Tarkovsky would have preferred Solaris to look on BD - no tint would be my guess, but a guess is all it is.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:00 am 
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I find the tint to be quite lovely and, somehow, appropriate for the mood of the scenes that are affected. However, I'm wondering why there are two or three black-and-white shots that escaped being tinted; they are usually followed by shots that are and the mix between the two is distracting more than anything.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:13 pm 
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Can the final measure of any artist (or of an artist's work) be reality? And by reality, I mean his or her confrontation with and conception of it; the use of his or her prodigious gifts to avoid, supersede or come to grips with it. And, also by reality, I mean what we collectively regard as reality or, plainly, the way in which we live today (which, some would argue, is fundamentally no different from the way we lived a million years ago). If not, how else are we to judge any medium which ultimately uses the way we live as a reference point?

This question, it seems to me, separates a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey from Solaris. Stanley Kubric throws in the factor of an extra-terrestrial (or, at the very least, some outside agent) intervention influencing the destiny of man. Tarkovsky, to my mind, seems to be saying that man doesn't see that he creates his own destiny, which is a very different premise altogether.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:20 pm 
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I'm not sure I understand the distinction you're making- there's a godlike extraterrestrial force in Solaris, too.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:41 pm 
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I think what ando is saying is that in 2001 the humans do not seem to particularly matter as individuals, with individual backstories, just as a representatives of their species being guided to the next level of evolution (presumably with all those who do not make the evolutionary leap being similar to all of those tribes of apes that never encountered the African monolith), while in Solaris the ocean might be an outside force but also is only working with the subconscious material that it gets presented with.

Athough the problematic (though most fascinating) thing about Solaris is that it can also seem that man does not recognise that the reality he is creating is an insular one, only involving himself and the elements of his imagination that he has created. He solves the issues of guilt that he feels but either cannot return or does not want to return to a world containing other people who he did not create in order to move on with his life. Perhaps another form of retreat.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:51 pm 
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For a significant portion of the people on this world (most?), an entity outside of the universe influencing the destiny of human beings is reality.

Personally, I don't think any artist should be obligated to represent my or anyone else's reality. The essence of art is invention. I am much more interested to see a movie invent its own reality.

The difference between 2001 and Solaris is, as Colin intimates, scale: 2001 is a feat of expansive imagination; it's trying to imagine the entire scope of human history and also imagine what a state of transcendence could be, which is something that lies outside the range of actual human experience and is therefore a huge feat to have accomplished considering its reality had to be totally invented. Solaris is doing somewhat the opposite, it's moving inward, concerning itself with individuals, what it means to be one, to have an identity, what the nature is of that identity, and how emotion and memory figure in these things. Solaris works with big, philosophical ideas, but it's always returning those ideas to the specific personalities it has constructed.

Solaris is more conventionally dramatic; 2001 is not interested in drama--it's visionary, a sort of quest myth involving the whole of the human species. They're both fantastic movies, tho', in their own divergent ways.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:06 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
I'm not sure I understand the distinction you're making- there's a godlike extraterrestrial force in Solaris, too.

Indeed. That extraterrestrial force is man's own imagination. I see Solaris, like all outside worlds (and "other" so-called realities, in general) as projections of our fears and hopes; but projections, nevertheless. And projections aren't reality. They take you out of the present and put you in a place where abstractions are easier to deal with because you can (or think you can) control your enviornment. But Chris isn't any more successful on Solaris than he was on earth in terms of his relationships with the people in his enviornment. How could he be? He was taking his experience with him, trying to relive (at least part of) it.

Now that's making a statement about the nature of man that is lacking in 2001. The great monolith and Hal 9000 seem to me to be scapegoats for man to shift blame for his condition to because it's much easier than dealing with one's own delusions. The oceans on Solaris, on the other hand, reflects man's delusions, the chief one being (natural disasters, notwithstanding) the fact that we are not responsible for own condition. Also, that the outward state of man reflects his inward state, regardless of the scope of the delusion.

Mr Sausage wrote:
Solaris works with big, philosophical ideas, but it's always returning those ideas to the specific personalities it has constructed.

I've always found Tarkovsky's films far more simple than many critics/reviewers have made them out to be. His cinematic language is actually quite direct and even comically simple at times. Lem's book, on the other hand, is a different matter. If you're referring to that original source material than perhaps I would concur with you.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:12 am 
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One of the complications of Solaris, though, is that what has always lived inside Kris- the unresolved feelings about Hari, the locked away emotions towards her, towards his father, towards the world- is made external and othered by the planet. It is a simplistic story if you ignore that, and pretend that it's simply a sort of complicated form of psychoanalysis, but the fantasy element of it is absolutely vital, and Kris is more successful at forming and understanding an attachment to another being via Solaris- enough so that he both commit to an attachment to Hari and give her up when he realizes she is a projection of something else, something he must contact more directly. The planet does force Kris to deal with what's inside him, but it also forces him outside his head- and I think one of the fundamental things conveyed by the first part of the movie, particularly the long, long drive, is how locked inside his own head Kris is.

I think 2001 shows the progress of man from something acted upon to something acting- the apes can only react to the Monolith, whereas Dave is capable of achieving a new state through his own struggle. The first monolith is given to us, the second is one we will inevitably reach as a species, and the third is something that can apparently only be reached individually- whereupon we can become something new. It's certainly not a movie about an internal struggle, nor is it a character piece, but I don't see where that means it's about projecting our faults and difficulties on to something or someone else- it's about transcending what you are and achieving something else, something evidently indescribable.

Or at least, those are my readings. I also think in both cases it's foolish to pretend there's any one reading that is correct and absolute- one of the beauties of both movies is that there are many stories in each, many questions left to you to answer.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:31 am 
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I think this is also the area where sci-fi crosses over with something like the pioneer western films (or even colonial films like The Four Feathers) - films about people who are leaving their families, cultures and civilisations, usually to escape some sort of burden or responsibility they feel to their society. Whether they are doing this to escape restrictive values or bad memories, they often still end up taking their baggage along with them and often end up subconsciously recreating a similar kind of enviroment to the one that they had left in the new world.

The great distances of space just emphasises even more that long distance connection - of isolation and instead of interacting with real people the relationship becoming more about yourself and your reaction to time-delayed messages from home or slowly fading memories of the people you cared about (material as divergent as Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 and the diary entries in Bram Stoker's Dracula could also be seen to be dealing with similar ideas). The big difference is that Solaris concretises these memories and people back into (some form of) life again, forcing all the characters to deal with their issues in less abstract terms.

Have the 'real people' changed, moved on (or even died), in the interim, while in our memories they are still stuck in a particular series of events that we have subscribed as being important to them? And do we care that they have moved on when we still have past issues to work out personally (as in Inception)?

I do find it interesting that even in 2001, which takes a much less philosophical view on exploration, that the environment that the aliens appear to have created for Bowman to live out the remainer of his human existence appears to be recreated from memories of earthly environments, yet compared to Kelvin returning to his family dacha, Bowman's environment takes the form of a kind of apersonal high class hotel room (a comment on a travelling artist's life being a series of impersonal non-spaces, stayed in on the way to the true destination, maybe?)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:43 am 
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Well, Bowman's suite is transitional, a place for him to wait while he goes from one place to another- it makes sense that it's as coldly impersonal as a hotel room, as it essentially is one. I think there's also some less interesting sort of sci fi stuff in the book implying that it's a hotel because the aliens don't fully understand us, and just picked a place they had seen as a typical Earth habitat- so the books in it didn't have any actual words in them, that sort of thing.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:47 pm 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
The planet does force Kris to deal with what's inside him, but it also forces him outside his head- and I think one of the fundamental things conveyed by the first part of the movie, particularly the long, long drive, is how locked inside his own head Kris is.

Oh, I disagree. Projections don't work that way. One projects out of fear. And fear is one of the most propulsive emotions in the film. Chris is driven to recreate Hari primarily because he refuses to deal with her death. When he's ready to face this actuality he can return (as it were) to earth. It's not Solaris that forces Chris "out of his head" but his realization of what Solaris is that does it. Chris, in many ways, escapes to Solaris in order to deal with his emotions. It's when he realizes that escaping is not an option in order to face what he's gone through that he makes a breakthrough. This seems crystal clear to me. Why is it not a plausible reading?

matrixschmatrix wrote:
I also think in both cases it's foolish to pretend there's any one reading that is correct and absolute- one of the beauties of both movies is that there are many stories in each, many questions left to you to answer.

Of course. But each film has an essential thing to say and a particular way of saying it, no?


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:58 pm 
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I don't think it's Kris that creates Hari, I think it is the planet, trying to communicate with Kris through what it finds in his mind. Thus, Hari is somewhat alien, and neither Hari as she was nor Hari as she lives in Kris's head. I think the experience does allow him to move past the shut-down state he was in (which was the cause as much as it was the result of her suicide) but I think it's overly simplistic to view it as him having a conversation with himself, via a magical space therapist.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:02 pm 
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Tarkovski always said that he disliked the opposition between Solaris and 2001, because for him, 2001 was not humane enough.

Having watched Solaris with this quote in mind, what stayed in my head is that 2001's trip makes you look outside yourself, while Solaris' one makes you look inside.

That might be a bit simple, though.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:46 pm 
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Nah, I can get behind that. Most of the ideas in 2001 deal with mankind's place in the world and in the universe, Solaris emphasizes the memories and trauma of an individual.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:19 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
I don't think it's Kris that creates Hari, I think it is the planet, trying to communicate with Kris through what it finds in his mind. Thus, Hari is somewhat alien, and neither Hari as she was nor Hari as she lives in Kris's head. I think the experience does allow him to move past the shut-down state he was in (which was the cause as much as it was the result of her suicide) but I think it's overly simplistic to view it as him having a conversation with himself, via a magical space therapist.

What? He's psychologist! :lol:

And it is as simple as I've described it. Solaris, the planet and everything associated with it - or, at least on it, is a projection (We don't even know how Kris gets to Solaris. Kris barely knows! "Have we launched yet?" "You're already in orbit, Kris!" :lol: Let's face it, scientifically, we're in some pretty absurd terrain, here.).

The experience of visiting Solaris, at any rate, as some kind of virtual hallucination is established early on when the scientific panel is grilling Henri Berton on his report after having completed his trip. And it's further developed with Kris' experience of the planet. Solaris as an entity is merely a reflection of the psyche that experiences it. It's precisely why no empirical data of the planet can be collected. The movie makes this clear. What exactly am I missing that would further elucidate Lem's or Tarkovsky's conception of the planet? Therefore, Kris, it seems to me, has to be the agent of change, not Solaris.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:43 am 
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If Hari is purely derived from Kris's thoughts, why is she so alien? Why is her dress made incorrectly? There's no question that it's the planet trying to replicate what it see's in Kris's mind, but it does so imperfectly, and it does so without Kris's consent.

The degree to which the unHari is unknowable is key- the thing that makes Kris's connection to her powerful is that he is connecting to something he knows he cannot understand. Connecting with a Hari that was purely a figment of his imagination would be meaningless.

Besides, the ghosts live on after the people who summoned them die- to me, that implies strongly there's more to them than an unconscious projection.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:15 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
If Hari is purely derived from Kris's thoughts, why is she so alien? Why is her dress made incorrectly? There's no question that it's the planet trying to replicate what it see's in Kris's mind, but it does so imperfectly, and it does so without Kris's consent.

Memory is hardly perfect in an of itself. It's a pretty unreliable device.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:46 am 
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matrixschmatrix wrote:
There's no question that it's the planet trying to replicate what it see's in Kris's mind, but it does so imperfectly, and it does so without Kris's consent.

Oh, I'm not questioning the planet's intentions. It has none. Kris is the active agent, not Solaris.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:58 am 

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Solaris is the typical Lemmian Other: totally inscrutable.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:55 am 
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aox wrote:
Memory is hardly perfect in an of itself. It's a pretty unreliable device.

Well, of course, and I think Kris never understood Hari in the first place, so there's really no way the planet could create anything that was truly her out of what was in his mind. However, Kris is presumably familiar with his own memories- your memories are not, by definition, alien to you.

I think it is because there is an unbridgable gap between Kris and unHari that his ability to commit to her, despite his knowledge that she is not what she appears and not something he can fully understand, seems moving and powerful to me.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:09 am 

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Yesterday in Moscow to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Tarkovsky was a presentation DVD with the original (initial) version of movie Solaris. Alas, this issue is not published, and will never be sold. For historians and film critics only. But I have this disc!!!

And more. Yesterday in Sweden published full version diarys of Tarkovsky.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Here is a very interesting blog post on the novel. It may or may not illuminate aspects of the movie(s) as well.


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:35 am 

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Nils, would it be possible to get a copy of the disk with the original version from you? I would greatly appreciate it. I was anxiously expecting this event, hoping that Mosfilm will make this version available for purchase, but no such luck...


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:39 pm 
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BWilson wrote:
kortik wrote:
If you understand Russain this films is even more precious.

Care to elaborate?

It's always better to experience a "foreign" film if you speak the language. Subtitles are not always correct and dubbing is just wrong. Solaris is simply a perfect example of the cinematic poetry and I promise you don't have know Russian to enjoy it, but it sure helps. :)
Vitaly


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 Post subject: Re: 164 Solaris
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:48 pm 
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Managed to buy and download the new (and hopefully very improved) English translation of Solaris on my e-reader.


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