So­Laris/staLKer

In­ner vi­sions

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW!/ 22 aU­GUsT 1972/1979 | 12/PG | Blu-ray/dVd Di­rec­tor an­drei Tarkovsky Cast Natalya Bon­darchuk, do­natas Ban­io­nis, alek­sandr Kay­danovskiy, ana­toliy solonit­syn

At nearly three hours a-piece, An­drei Tarkovsky’s two sci­ence fic­tion clas­sics are de­mand­ing, but re­ward­ing jour­neys into the hu­man soul.

So­laris ( ) mixes the crisp outer-space steril­ity of Kubrick’s 2001 (a film that the Rus­sian di­rec­tor is said to have loathed) with hu­man tragedy. Psy­chol­o­gist Kelvin is dis­patched to a sta­tion or­bit­ing the planet So­laris to help the trou­bled crew, only to en­counter his dead wife, ap­par­ently res­ur­rected by an in­tel­li­gence on the planet be­low. It’s a haunt­ing premise, beau­ti­fully filmed, but with a 40-minute in­fo­dump first act that can be char­i­ta­bly de­scribed as “tax­ing”. So­laris re­wards pa­tience, but you will tire of Kelvin star­ing blankly at mon­i­tors.

Stalker ( ) is, if any­thing, even more oblique, and yet its lack of plot works to the film’s ad­van­tage. A mys­te­ri­ous event has cre­ated The Zone – a strange, con­tam­i­nated area now sealed off by the mil­i­tary. Three men jour­ney into it and into them­selves in a film that owes more to Wait­ing For Godot than it does Road­side Pic­nic, the novel it was based on. It’s visu­ally and son­i­cally ar­rest­ing, with Tarkovsky lulling you into a dream-state of de­cay­ing power plants and wa­ter-logged dere­lic­tion. To­day, it feels like an eerie pre­mo­ni­tion of Ch­er­nobyl, seven years be­fore the disas­ter.

Ex­tras Both films share ex­cerpts from An­drei Tarkovsky’s Meta­phys­i­cal Dream Zone – an es­say read out over footage from the films, and as thrilling as that sounds – and come with 40-page book­lets. So­laris ( ) in­cludes an in­ter­est­ing in­ter­view with ac­tress Natalya Bon­darchuk, while Stalker ( ) in­cludes chats with set de­signer Rashit Safi­ullin and a melan­choly fi­nal in­ter­view with cin­e­matog­ra­pher Alek­sander Knyazhin­sky (who passed away in 1996). Will Salmon

The term “Stalker” has been adopted in real life by brave/fool­ish peo­ple who ex­plore the Ch­er­nobyl Ex­clu­sion Zone.

Frank and Sue ner­vously en­tered the swingers party.

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