In "Solaris" Russian director glances from the cosmos to the earth, to man. Tarkovsky does not make a trip "to infinity and beyond", but to the inner world of man. "I consider it my duty to encourage reflection on the specifically human and the eternal that lives within each of us," wrote Tarkovsky. It is no coincidence nor a matter of "resources", that special effects have been reduced to a minimum in the film, and the space station that hovers over the ocean presents a neglected aspect intelligent "home" very earthy, which presented a house whose owner is absorbed by other issues and never found the time to fix the leaky faucet or light socket ... Ironically, no other film has so many traces of Tarkovsky humanly mundane as "Solaris" (Vera Ivanova).
Tarkovsky adapted a novel by Stanislav Lem's sci-fi, and does so in his day many thought the Russian response to Kubrick's 2001. I do not think that I and my brain are prepared to say whether or not there is a relationship between these two films. It is sufficiently dense, hard, intense and interesting to also compare them. In any case, beyond science fiction, Solaris is a deep study of human nature, love and loneliness.
Solaris has, in short, the story of a man who travels to a space station to investigate the death of one of the inhabitants of the station, and look for strange phenomena that occur there.
The story presents us perfectly, in about forty minutes long, which gives us some keys to understanding what happens next. Tarkovsky's camera is accurate, but deeply cold and distant. During the next two hours we see a dense sampling of the Solaris effects in humans. Here Tarkovsky shows at times intense and at times impenetrable. I personally am interested in what I see, but I am unable to draw any conclusions about what I've seen. It's all too tight.
Solaris is almost three hours of film difficult, personal, and definitely interesting, but that challenges deeply assimilative capacity of the viewer.
Special mention, of course, the dialogues, which are essential parts of a script flawless, like all great films of Russian director (at least until "Stalker"). The world of "Solaris" is not aseptic and clean the world of "2001: A Space Odyssey" with its wide array of special effects and dazzling display of ships and flying machines (some impossible), with a striking design, convincing and realistic than almost anything you see on the screen there today...