“We don’t want to conquer space at all. We want to expand Earth endlessly. We don’t want other worlds, we want a mirror.”

When Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky heads into space, it’s not to free himself of the earthly preoccupations of human experience, but to find the starkest possible setting to pick it apart.

Solaris is a deeply philosophical sci-fi flick about longing, fear, and the dispersed orbitals of objects, memories and ideas that define human existence.

Kelvin is a psychologist, dispatched to investigate a space craft orbiting the planet Solaris, whose mission has gone mysteriously awry.

When he arrives – after ceremoniously taking leave of his life on earth – he find the spaceship’s crew listless and morbid, and not all accounted for. 

It’s not long before Kelvin gets his own taste of their strange affliction, which seems to be emanating from Solaris’s seas.

As it moves between the earth and the heavens of a universe so nearly our own, Solaris toys with the question of what, or where, reality is. 

Kelvin is subject to hallucinations that seem realer than real, while Tarkovsky imbues the everyday surroundings he leaves behind in Russia with whispering suggestions of magic and transcendence.

A final flourish at the film’s conclusion casts all our assumptions about objective reality in the film into delirious uncertainty.

A mercurial thriller that moves to the entrancing rhythm of a dream, Solaris transcends generic boundaries and ensures itself a long-term lease in the minds of all who watch it.

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