Science Fiction season continues with Solaris tonight!
A scientist journeys to a station orbiting distant planet in an attempt to discover why its crew have gone insane
14 April 2014
The original 1973 version of Solaris is a visionary and critically acclaimed classic of the genre. Directed by Andrei Arsenyvich Tarkovsky, the movie follows Kris Kelvin as he travels to a distant planet known as Solaris. A space station orbiting the planet is home to three scientists who have been studying Solaris for years with little progress. They have begun to send confusing and contradictory messages back to Earth, so Kelvin is dispatched to assess the situation and discover the cause of the problems.
Premiering at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, Solaris was awarded the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury however Tarkovsky believed that the film was a failure as it did not ‘transcend genre’ in the same way as his earlier movie, Stalker (which has inspired a project at Bidson Moss that as part of the Science Fiction: New Death exhibition)
Critics and audiences however regarded Solaris as a ‘sci-fi masterpiece’ which sold 10.5 million tickets on its release at just five cinemas in the USSR. Critic Roger Ebert wrote that the film gave ‘so much to think about afterward, and so much that remained in my memory.’ Film 4 have described the film as ‘haunting, provocative, beautifully shot and infused with an irresistable, tender sadness, this is sci-fi, and indeed cinema, at its most powerful and mysterious.’
Solaris is screening as part of our current exhibition, Science Fiction: New Death, which considers how our relationship with technology has blurred the lines between the real and the virtual; making our everyday lives feel increasingly like science fiction.