To paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, the best way to criticize a movie is to make a movie. This is exactly what Andrei Tarkovsky did when he made “Solaris,” which came out in 1972, four years after Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Surely, Tarkovsky adapted Stanislaw Lem’s novel for a number of different reasons, but the video essay below demonstrates the many ways “Solaris” acts as almost a conscious reaction against the Kubrick film.
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The essay, put together by Kogonada, highlights Tarkovsky’s aim to place the focus on humanity instead of technology. As the video’s narrator points out, Tarkovsky spends little time on the protagonist’s physical journey through space, instead placing a great amount of emphasis on the psychology of these characters and their connection to Earth. Another way Tarkovsky explores the nature of humanity is through love. The “weightlessness” scene is used as a specific example, where the main character is seen floating in a room inside the space station with his “wife.” “Solaris,” the video says, “will be a call to remain human in the face of the unknown, in the face of technological process. More than ever poetry matters, not just science…”
It’s quite the fascinating video and it covers quite a bit of ground in just five brief minutes. So, why not check it out below? [AV Club]