A Nos Amours Film Collective: Solaris (1972) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky

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“I’ve been in love four or five times. Twice with a woman, once with a man, once with a dog and once with this film” – Will Self introducing screening of Solaris at Curzon Renoir on 13th June 2013

Having already attended two fantastically scrumptious screenings held by A Nos Amours film collective, I was feeling particularly curious about this one. Being a Tarkovsky virgin and not an avid sci-fi fan (although I adore Brazil), I was unsure whether I’d enjoy Solaris.

Will Self gave us an enthusiastic, fiercely candid, passionate and highly comical introduction before the screening. He encouraged the audience to have an open mind when viewing the film and leave all our expectation of the usual ‘Hollywood’ run of the mill cinema at the door.

Solaris is a deeply mystical film at best with not much of a solid plot. Tarkovsky uses the idea of a star solar system being a metaphor of some kind of moral God encouraging the characters to re-consider their beliefs, confront the past, explore the human condition and ideas about love and loss.

The opening of Solaris is absolutely hypnotising in every sense; The audience is introduced to the main protagonist, Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) appearing to be a rather pensive character standing in his garden. There are some stunning shots of his garden, flowing water and lots of greenery while the pace of this opening sets the overall tone of the film.

We learn that Kelvin will be leaving Earth to take a voyage to planet Solaris – Once he arrives on the space ship, Solaris appears to be sending vibrations that trigger up aspects of his sub conscience. His deceased wife, Haris (Natalya Bondarchuk) returns to haunt him, this encourages him to also explore conceptual ideas about existence with two scientists; Snaut and Sartorius.

Just like David Lynch, Tarkovsky succeeds in transporting the audience to a dream like frequency where we can almost touch the walls of his own inner sub conscience. The random images of dogs on the space ship (perhaps not so random..?) to the sequences from Kelvin’s past which includes a stunning Russian film score which succeeds in creating a sense of familiarity. We understand, we feel, Kelvin’s journey.

The cutaway shots of the moving ocean are truly magnificent. These shots appear to be reflecting human memory, what it lacks in detail, it makes up with the intensity of genuine bold feelings.

Solaris is a perplexing, visual study of the human subconscious, a love story on one hand and a moving film that must be watched with patience and most definitely over and over again to truly understand and relish everything it has to offer.

Hats off to Adam Roberts and Joanna Hogg for forming this wonderful and truly unique film collective which is devoid of pretension and instead, is dedicated to screening rare and often overlooked films in their original print.

A fantastic, mixed crowd of cinephiles, artistic types, industry professionals and lovers of slow cinema, I highly recommend you catch the next screening. Past screenings have included; Frost (Tarkovsky), A Moment of Innocence (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) & La Belle et la Bete (Jean Cocteau).

The next screening from A Nos Amours will be Federico Fellini’s Stayricon on Tuesday 10th September 2013 at the Curzon Mayfair.

You can find them on twitter @a_nos_amours and on facebook.

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