It grew a bit from what I planned.
Verdict: Solaris abominable, Stalker excellent. Haven't seen Andrei Rublev. Russian director. I hear they made a remake of "Solaris" lately. If so, I hope it's better than the monotonous, boring, 2001 rip off that the first Solaris was. Solaris deals with a mysterious planet with mysterious qualities that a space station orbits around. There have been weird things happening on the space station, so a psychologist is sent up there. Turns out that something from the planet below is able to project itself onto the space ship and make copies of people contained in the memories of the people aboard. The psychologist gets his late wife back, who died young of suicide after they broke up. A romance ensues, even though they all know that it's not her. There. I summarized most of the movie in just a few sentences, but it takes two hours to communicate that information.
When I picture the genesis of Solaris I picture a Central Committee meeting where the leaders are discussing how this Western movie called 2001 directed by this Stanley Kubrick guy is being revered as a work of art, and how the Soviet Union needs to come up with something comparable in order to save face. Enter Andrei Tarkovsky.
Ambient music, long scenes of nothing consisting of empty corridors, no sound in many places besides the characters talking....always talking softly and understated, with lots of pregnant pauses to make you think.
It would work with some originality, but Tarkovsky in this case isn't being original and applying Kubrick's techniques in an original fashion but is portraying the story in a clearly derivative way.
Ah, but Stalker, Stalker is good.
I'll get to it in the next post.
Based on a novella type thing by the Strugatsky brothers called "Roadside Picnic"....which is available online due to there being no copyright over Soviet era works (if they were translated into English by people within Soviet officialdom).