Solaris is a 1961 Polish science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem. The book is about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non-human species. In probing and examining the oceanic surface of the planet Solaris from a hovering research station the human scientists are, in turn, being studied by the sentient planet itself, which probes for and examines the thoughts of the human beings who are analyzing it. Solaris has the ability to manifest their secret, guilty concerns in human form, for each scientist to personally confront. Solaris is one of Lem’s philosophic explorations of man’s anthropomorphic limitations. First published in Warsaw in 1961, the 1970 Polish-to-French-to-English translation of Solaris is the best-known of Lem's English-translated works.
Solaris chronicles the ultimate futility of attempted communications with the extraterrestrial life on a far-distant planet. Solaris is almost completely covered with an ocean that is revealed to be a single, planet-encompassing organism, with whom Terran scientists are attempting communication. What appear to be waves on its surface are later revealed to be the equivalents of muscle contractions.
Kris Kelvin arrives aboard "Solaris Station", a scientific research station hovering (via anti-gravity generators) near the oceanic surface of the planet Solaris. The scientists there have studied the planet and its ocean for many decades, a scientific discipline known as Solaristics, which over the years has degenerated to simply observing, recording and categorizing the complex phenomena that occur upon the surface of the ocean. Thus far, they have only achieved the formal classification of the phenomena with an elaborate nomenclature — yet do not understand what such activities really mean in a strictly scientific sense. Shortly before psychologist Kelvin's arrival, the crew has exposed the ocean to a more aggressive and unauthorized experimentation with a high-energy X-ray bombardment. Their experimentation gives unexpected results and becomes psychologically traumatic for them as individually flawed humans.
The ocean's response to their aggression exposes the deeper, hidden aspects of the personalities of the human scientists — whilst revealing nothing of the ocean’s nature itself. To the extent that the ocean’s actions can be understood, the ocean then seems to test the minds of the scientists by confronting them with their most painful and repressed thoughts and memories. It does this via the materialization of physical human simulacra; Kelvin confronts memories of his dead lover and guilt about her suicide. The torments of the other researchers are only alluded to but seem even worse than Kelvin’s personal ordeal.
The ocean’s intelligence expresses physical phenomena in ways difficult for their limited earth science to explain, deeply upsetting the scientists. The alien (extraterrestrial) mind of Solaris is so greatly different from the human mind of (objective) consciousness that attempts at inter-species communications are a dismal failure.
Solaris has been filmed three times:
- Solaris (1968 film), directed by Boris Nirenburg.
- Solaris (1972 film), directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film loosely follows the novel's plot, emphasizing the human relationships instead of Lem's astrobiology theories — especially Kelvin's Earth life, before his space travel to the planet. The film won the Grand Prix at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.
- Solaris (2002 film), directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney and produced by James Cameron, also emphasizing the human relationships — and again excluding Lem's scientific and philosophical themes. This version I will not be discussing.
Solaris (Russian: Солярис) is a two-part 1968 Russian television film in black-and-white based on the 1961 novel Solaris by Stanisław Lem. It was the first film adaptation of the novel, and was written by Nikolay Kemarsky, directed by Boris Nirenburg and was a Central Television production (Russian: Центральное телевидение СССР). The film was released on DVD (in Russia) on January 29, 2009.
According to various reviews this adaptation apparently was so much like the original novel that descriptions of the film used the blurb on the back cover of the novel.
Solaris (Russian: Солярис, tr. Solyaris) is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of the novel Solaris (1961), directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is a meditative psychological drama occurring mostly aboard a space station orbiting the fictional planet Solaris. The scientific mission has stalled out because the meager skeleton crew of three scientists have fallen into separate emotional crises. Psychologist Kris Kelvin travels to the Solaris space station to evaluate the situation only to encounter the same mysterious phenomenon as the others.
The original science fiction novel by Polish author Stanisław Lem is about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between humans and other species. Tarkovsky's adaptation is a “drama of grief and partial recovery” concentrated upon the thoughts and the consciences of the cosmonaut scientists studying Solaris' mysterious ocean. With the complex and slow-paced narrative of Solaris, Tarkovsky wanted to bring a new emotional and intellectual depth to the genre, since he viewed western science fiction as shallow. The ideas which Tarkovsky tried to express in this film are further developed in Stalker (1979).
At the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, it won the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, the FIPRESCI prize and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. The film is often cited as one of the greatest science fiction films in the history of cinematography.
- Solaris (novel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Solyaris (TV Movie 1968) – IMDb
- Solaris (1968 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Solaris (Nirenburg, 1968) TV Trailer – YouTube
- Solaris (1972) – IMDb
- Solaris (1972 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Solaris (1972) trailer – YouTube
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