Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Solaris (1972)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Solaris (1972, Soviet Union) (aka Solyaris, or Солярис)

In co-writer/director Andrei Tarkovsky's imaginative, mesmerizing, mysterious, visually-stunning sci-fi drama, in part created as a response to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - other versions included Boris Nirenburg's TV version Solyaris (1968), and Steven Soderbergh's remake Solaris (2002) with George Clooney:

  • the fictional planet of Solaris (a possibly sentient planet) - covered by an ocean of foggy gasses, and the site of mysterious happenings according to Henri Berton (Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy), who described (in a videotaped meeting during a commission or board of inquiry of scientists) the deaths of two scientists-pilots who had crash-landed on Solaris; he told about his own sighting of a four-meter-tall monstrous, oversized child ("naked like a newborn" - wet, slippery and shiny) with blue eyes and dark hair on the planet's ocean surface (the child-giant was revealed to be a representation of the real-life orphaned son of one of the downed and deceased pilots); however, the commission complained that Berton only filmed clouds: "Why did you film clouds?" and accused him of having hallucinations possibly brought on by the planet's atmosphere: ("Perhaps you're not feeling well?"); it was theorized that "All of this could be the result of Solaris' biomagnetic current acting on Berton's consciousness"
  • the sequence of widowed cosmonaut, mathematician and astro-psychologist Kris Kelvin's (Donatas Banionis) inter-stellar journey and mission to the planet of Solaris, to an almost-forgotten, run-down Russian space platform orbiting the planet as an object of research (Solaristics), to meet with the sparse crew of three in the rubbish-littered space station, some of whom appeared to have been driven mad or delusionary: scientist Dr. Snaut (Jüri Järvet) and astro-biologist Dr. Sartorius (Anatoliy Solonitsyn), who lived with a dwarf; the third scientist was represented by cryptic, farewell warning video-tapes (listened to by Kris) of physiologist Dr. Gribaryan (Sos Sargsyan) who had committed suicide by lethal injection (but asserted: "Just don't think that I've lost my mind. I'm of sound mind, Kris. Believe me")
  • various mysterious conjured-up phenomena, apparitions or "phantoms" on Solaris (figures of a person's past that were extracted from one's mind), including Kris' haunted and traumatic memories of his resurrected former wife Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk); as he was sleeping - she came over to him and kissed him; throughout the remainder of the film, her presence forced him to relive his difficult relationship with her (she had committed suicide ten years earlier after he left her)
  • the scene of Khari's self-healing and resurrection after lacerating herself by pushing herself through a metal door - it was explained by Dr. Sartorius that she was an apparition composed of neutrinos (kept stable by Solaris' magnetic field) - and she was, in a sense, regeneratively immortal
Khari (Natalya Bondarchuk)
  • the most transcendent, slow-motion, anti-gravity scene in film history, in which Khari and Kris began weightlessly floating through the air for 30 seconds in the station's library (lined with artwork on the walls), when there was a shift in the station's orbit, untethered to earthbound laws of gravity; other objects glided past them (books, a tray with four candles, etc.) as they experienced a brief moment of happiness
  • the discovery of Khari's self-destructive death after immersing herself in liquid oxygen - her body was found lying across the corridor (covered with frost and blood), although she painfully, agonizingly and spontaneously resurrected again
  • the film's conclusion - the possible return of Kris to Earth and his home with lush plant life near a lake, although after a slow-panning withdrawal through the clouds to an overhead shot, it was revealed that his father's wooden house and the surrounding natural growth existed only as a recreation of one of Solaris' small islands on the planet's surface (a neutrino image within his mind, dreams and wishes?)

Henri Berton (Vladislav Dvorzhetskiy)

Solaris Clouds

Docking at Circular Space Station Above Solaris

Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis)

Videotape of Dr. Gribaryan (Sos Sargsyan)


The Concluding Pull-Back Shot


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