(1972), Andrei Tarkovsky. February 22, 8pm. View count: One.
I definitely enjoyed this first version better than the Soderbergh/Carpenter one
, despite its more cluttered structure and more Joe Don Bakerish leading man
(though I say that as someone without interest in Clooneys). My respect for Solaris-the-remake is even somewhat diminished, because that is what it is: a remake of the original movie, not a re-imagining of the story. And in its tighter, modern redo spirit, it loses the pacing of the original, not to mention the good solid russian space station style, the weird, sweaty (I swear, it's a hallmark of russian cinema
) character actors, and the beautiful analog chemical-swirl surface-of-Solaris effect. Almost everything I thought was clever in Solaris, though, was actually brought over wholesale from Solyaris.
Solyaris did have its issues, most notably the totally inexplicable (okay, it is actually quite explicable
) driving-on-japanese-highways sequence (the internet tells me that this was left in to justify a trip to Japan, which had originally been to shoot footage at the World Fair, but which presumably bureaucracy had forced the team to miss. So they shot like twenty minutes of Tokyo highway, and hoped everyone would find it futuristic, which early 70s Russia probably damn well did). The semi-integrated Brueghel paintings were probably the other obvious culprit; I never felt like they really did much for the production. Apparently this was due to a sense of disadvantage on Tarkovsky's part:
The reason for this was that for Tarkovsky cinema was a very young art. He tried to create in the viewer's subconscious a historic perspective into the depth of the centuries, such that the viewers would think of cinema as an old art.
I didn't really find the relatively slow pacing to be a problem; it wasn't as deliberate as, say, 2001, but it never managed to find its groove as well as 2001, either. I am looking forward to watching some films that Tarkovsky thought were more successful.