“Every shot of Solaris bears witness to the almost dazzling talents inherent in Tarkovsky.” – Akira Kurosawa.
With his adaptation of the novel by Stanislaw Lem, Tarkovsky created a brilliantly original science-fiction epic and brought a new compassion and artistic sensitivity to the genre. Over 40 years on, this spiritual odyssey retains its mysterious authority and continues to challenge our conceptions about love, truth, and humanity itself.
After Russian Ground Control receive a mysterious transmission from the three remaining residents onboard the Solaris space station, cosmonaut and psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent on mission to investigate. Confronted by the skeleton crew - who are displaying psychological instability due to the presence of ‘visitors’ - it’s not long before Kris too begins to encounter a visitor of his own (that of his late wife), sending him on a voyage into the darkest recesses of his consciousness. Taunting him with illusionary compassion, Kris must choose whether to cling to reality or submit to the planet’s gift of a lost love regained.
Hugely influential and brilliantly original Solaris arrived at a time when the space race between America and the Soviet Union was still very much an on-going affair. But where viewers might have expected a film that would reflect on this political and technological rivalry Tarkovsky instead delivered a film that was much more interested than the inner regions of its characters minds than outer space – and in doing so set the tone for a more grounded, internalised style of science-fiction cinema.
- As part of Sculpting Time the 18:00 screening of The Mirror on Wed 20 July will feature an introduction and Q&A with artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah who will be talking about the influence of Mirror on his own work and Tarkovsky’s innovative use of sound. A founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, Akomfrah's work has been shown in museums and exhibitions around the world including most recently his exhibition Vertigo Sea at Arnolfini.