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Solaris Review

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Psychologist Donatas Banionis’ painful resolution of his relationship with his dead wife on a space station

★★★★

Both an allegory on the failing Communist experiment and a treatise on man’s potential for salvation, Tarkovsky’s mesmerising adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel is still superior to Steven Soderbergh’s remake. Its discussion of passion and obsession, regret and reconciliation is consistently challenging and offers few easy answers.

The director refuses to be tempted by the sci-fi staples to which even Stanley Kubrick succumbed in 2001: A Space Odyssey, so while the sets are evocative, they’re not fetishistically futuristic. Nor is the action peppered with set-pieces designed to sex up psychologist Donatas Banionis’ painful resolution of his relationship with his dead wife. Instead, Tarkovsky concentrates on the eerie realisation that there’s nothing more terrifying out in space than our own selves...

This mesmerising atmosphere-piece is superior to the Soderbergh remake