tarkofsky

SOLARIS (Tarkovsky, 1972) - Yup, I followed up Antonioni with Tarkovsky: talk about a hardcore cinephilic evening. Somehow, I expected to like this a lot less than I did the remake - perhaps because my first (and until tonight only) exposure to Tarkovsky, a screening of STALKER about 6 years ago, was not a big success, while I have Soderbergh filed under “never not interesting”, even when he fails (eg. THE GOOD GERMAN). However, I liked it just as much: the older movie is richer, less interested in pop psychology and pat explanations, while the newer one is more efficient and focused, and has the advantage of more expressive and charismatic actors. They raise the same questions, but address them differently. As for the final twist in the newer version, I’m not quite sure it’s necessary, and I didn’t miss it here.

I’ll admit this one tested my patience at times, but it did go down smoothly enough to make me consider revisiting STALKER. I hadn’t really seen many “slow” movies at the time, and I barely remember anything about it, except for the sound of dripping water and that it was almost entirely devoid of color. The saturation is very variable here, too: some scenes are positively vibrant while others are almost in black and white. I couldn’t detect any logic to it at first viewing, but perhaps I’ll be enlightened by the Criterion essay, which I’m off to read now.