Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk, Yuri Jarvet, Anatoli Solonitsyn,
On the planet Solaris, scientists believe, the ocean’s surface has an intelligence that can absorb human memory and materialize the objects of our thoughts. Psychologist Chris Kelvin joins the veteran cosmonauts in the Solaris project only to find them maddened from years of literally cohabitating with their unconscious desires. Kelvin himself becomes host to the presence of his dead wife and seems doomed to relive both the passion and the loss associated with her memory. “Outer space” plays almost no part in Tarkovsky’s science fiction, which relies on widescreen composition to paint a landscape of the mind, and static images that reverberate with their stillness in a timeless, lush land that could be Heaven, but is meant to be the country home of Kelvin’s youth. Tarkovsky initiates us into the secret of Solaris: that, like the oceans of the distant planet, the cinema serves up the most poetic longings of the human imagination.