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One of the most profoundly meditative sci-fi films ever created, Solaris is one of Russian master Tarkovsky’s finest achievements in a career made almost solely of masterpieces. In this film adapted from the novel by Stanisław Lem, the alien planet Solaris is a deeply fascinating subject for researchers, but an exploratory crew seems to have gone mad while stationed there. Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis), a melancholy psychologist with a troubled past, is called in to investigate. Before long, his late wife Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk) appears to him, as real as when she was alive. Kelvin is forced to reconcile this memory of love with empirical evidence and scientific reason, ideas seemingly at odds with each other but both with their own pull—furthered by Tarkovsky’s poetic meditations on existence. “What is central [to the film] is the inner problem, which preoccupied me and which coloured the whole production in a very specific way: namely the fact that in the course of its development humanity is constantly struggling between spiritual, moral entropy, the dissipation of ethical principles, on the one hand, and on the other—the aspiration towards a moral ideal. The endless inner struggle of man, who wants to be freed from all moral restraint, but at the same time seeks a meaning for his own movement, in the form of an ideal—that is the dichotomy that constantly produces intense inner conflict in the life of the individual and of society.”—Andrei Tarkovsky.

Genres: Sci-Fi, Drama

Other Films by Andrei Tarkovsky

The Mirror

The most visually poetic and personal of Tarkovsky’s films, THE MIRROR has no conventional plot. Rather, the film takes the viewer on a chronological journey through the memories—real and imagined—of an unnamed narrator who lies dying of cancer. The seemingly random images create a melancholic montage of the mundane events of our lives through which


Russian master Tarkovsky’s penultimate film, shown here on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, follows Yankovskiy (Andrei Gorchakov), a poet who falls in with a Tuscan madman (Erland Josephson) while traveling through Italy and researching the life of an 18th-century Ukrainian composer who spent his final years there. Yankovskiy, increasingly isolated from those around him,

Ivan’s Childhood

During World War II, young Ivan (Nikolay Burlyaev) scurries across Soviet and German lines, having been recruited as a spy by Russian forces. Via vivid dream and flashback sequences, the film grants us glimpses of what this orphaned child had before war rendered everything a cold, war torn landscape bereft of comfort. Tarkovsky’s first film

The Sacrifice

Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is generally considered to be the greatest director of post-war Soviet cinema and the last of the European Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is generally considered to be the greatest director of post-war Soviet cinema and the last of the European art-film generation. Full of deep spiritual and ecological concern and possessing an intensely