|The sentient ocean of Solaris.|
d. Andrei Tarkovsky
Criterion Collection #164
Solaris (1972) was close to being next on the list by spine number, and then this week I read the Zola Jesus Top 10 feature at the Criterion Collection website, and she put Solaris at #2 and said:
Solaris is not just a movie to me. It feels like an entire language. The more I watch it, the more I learn about the genius of Tarkovsky’s vision. I still have yet to read the original story by Stanislaw Lem, but it’s next on my list to understanding the puzzle that is this wonderful film. (CRITERION COLLECTION TOP 10 FEATURE)
That timely recommendation, plus the fact that the other Tarkovsky movie I watched (Andrei Rublev Criterion Collection #34) was KICK ASS, was enough to get me to watch.
I knew going in that Solaris was slow, and that is "sci fi" and that there was a shitty American remake starring George Clooney, and that it was long. It is a long, slow sci fi film, which, as the Criterion Collection site itself points out makes it "vastly different from what most Americans consider to be sci fi." By which they presumably mean Star Wars and their ilk, but the obvious Western reference point is Stanley Kubrick's 2001- which was released in 1968. As I recall 2001 is slow and boring in similar fashion.
Solaris is also timely because of another upcoming film, Gravity:
Gravity seems to be a more straight forward action picture, but shares some of the same ambiance. And of course there is the NASA documentary For All Mankind- about the trips NASA took to the moon. It's all kind of a metaphor about alienation from one's surroundings.