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Solaris [DVD] [1972]

Natalya Bondarchuk , Donatas Banionis , Andrei Tarkovsky    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, Vladislav Dvorzhetsky, Nikolai Grinko
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Russian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0051GP9Z4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,391 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Released in 1972, Solaris is Andrei Tarkovsky's third feature and his most far-reaching examination of human perceptions and failings. It's often compared to Kubrick's 2001, but although both bring a metaphysical dimension to bear on space exploration, Solaris has a claustrophobic intensity which grips the attention over spans of typically Tarkovskian stasis. Donatas Banionis is sympathetic as the cosmonaut sent to investigate disappearances on the space station orbiting the planet Solaris, only to be confronted by his past in the guise of his dead wife, magnetically portrayed by Natalya Bondarchuk. The ending is either a revelation or a conceit, depending on your viewpoint.

On the DVD: Solaris reproduces impressively on DVD in widescreen--which is really essential here--and Eduard Artemiev's ambient score comes over with pristine clarity. There are over-dubs in English and French, plus subtitles in 12 languages. An extensive stills gallery, detailed filmographies for cast and crew, and comprehensive biographies of Tarkovsky and author Stanislaw Lem are valuable extras, as are the interviews with Bondarchuk and Tarkovsky's sister and an amusing 1970s promo-film for Banionis. It would have been better had the film been presented complete on one disc, instead of stretched over two. Even so, the overall package does justice to a powerful and disturbing masterpiece. --Richard Whitehouse

Product Description

Brand new, sealed. Genuine UK release in slim DVD case artwork exactly as pictured.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Islands of memory 23 Aug 2007
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Unlike Soderbergh's interminable and seemingly much longer take on Stanislaw Lem's novel, Tarkovsky's Solaris is a sensual film, but one where the senses aren't exactly numbed as dulled into a kind of half-dreamlike state. Like the reeds in the opening shot, you have to go with the ebb and flow - it's almost more of a feeling than a film. And, it has to be said, at times that feeling can be like being lulled to the verge of sleep, while at others it's like being caught up in a fever. It's tempting to wonder what Werner Herzog makes of the film.

Lem famously disliked the film with a passion, feeling it gave into the heart rather the head with trite clichés: "Instead of focusing on deeper moral questions related to frontiers of human knowledge, he made a drama-type Crime and Punishment in space, by making up unnecessary characters of parents and relatives, then adding a hut on an island," was one of his less bitter comments after he fell out with Tarkovsky writing the script, although that implies a far more sentimental film than Tarkovsky delivered. Certainly the issue of whether the visitors are a gift, an experiment, a probe or a defensive psychological attack on the scientists is all but ignored in favour of their emotional effects on Kelvin and (to a much lesser effect) the scientists: these characters really aren't looking for answers, they're looking for a mirror, and it's their insular nature that condemns them to literally float in their own islands of memory (or a 'hut on an island' if you ascribe to Lem's view).
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction with spiritual quest 19 Aug 2002
By "shusd"
The story follows the book "Solaris" by Stanislav Lem. Solaris is a planet covered by the ocean. One of the hypothesis is that this ocean is a thinking matter that tries to correspond with humans. Misterious events happen at Solaris space station: personnel disappears, scientific experiments are in dolldrums, eventually contact with station is lost. A researcher played by the famous Soviet era Lithuanian actor - Banionis - is sent to investigate the situation and take a decision on whether to continue the work on a station or close it down...
However, let the viewer be forewarned that anybody expecting a thriller will be utterly disappointed. The film is a contemplation and analysis of what we consider important in our lives. The questions of duty, love, memory, nostalgia and soul occupy most of the film's content. In a way, science fiction only serves a purpose of the best conduit to explore the most important issues of human existence.
It is a definite tribute to Tarkovsky's mastery that film manages to convey its ideas with a bare minimum of science fiction stunts (if any) and very minimal other technical means of expression. Aspiring film makers can learn from Tarkovsky on how to create one of the most powerful images ever seen in the world cinema without big budgets or artificial wizardry.
Tarkovsky is a very consistent director in his film making. The attention to small details of nature, slow camera exploration of every shot will be familiar to the viewers who saw his other films. Indeed, after Mirror and Andrei Rublev, Solaris is a natural progression of Tarkovsky's initiate. The pleasure of recognising the common themes of all his films is an important viewing experience.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A spiritual milestone in the history of cinema 11 Feb 2002
SOLARIS remains Tarkovsky's most spiritually intense film - an unparalleled achievement that quietly gathers force with each passing year. Entirely devoid of the glibness and hip irony that cripples much of today's cinema, SOLARIS is an unapologetically earnest and sincere attempt to explore the state of the human soul and the redemptive powers of simple, human love.
The DVD transfer is very good, but without knowing the condition of the print used or the technical details of the transfer, one can't really make a judgement. Suffice to say, it's superior to the VHS editions I have seen and is presented in its original aspect ratio. The extra features are fascinating and include present day interviews with actress Natalya Bondarchuk, Tarkovsky's sister and a late sixties featurette on lead actor Donatis Banionis (a revered stage actor). There's also an original trailer/promo spot for Mirror, with a glimpse of Tarkovsky himself, and some good production stills on Disc 2. The major complaint here though, derives from the ridiculous decision to put the film itself onto 2 discs. Why not place the film in its entirety onto disc one and the extra features onto disc two as most other companies do?
In summary, if you don't mind flipping discs halfway through, and you're as continually amazed and moved by the cinematic power of Andrei Tarkovsky, then buy this DVD now!!
Daniel S Graham
Sydney, Australia
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The slow and thoughtful nightmare of reality. 25 July 2003
By Truth
Probably the worst thing about Solaris is the remake that has brought hundreds of MTV generated minds to the doorstep of Russian film making only to balk at what they get in the end. This isn't about lots of explosions and face paced editing. It is about enjoying a novel that has been brought to life. Solaris is derived from a book of the same name by polish writer Stanislaw Lem and is directed by the acclaimed russian film maker Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972.
The opening sequence revolves around a family of astronaughts who talk about their lives and space travel. It turns out that something very strange is happening on a planet called Solaris which is recalled through a soviet type interrogiation sequence like something out of the x-files. Like in much of David Lynch's work people say and talk about wierd things. Nothing seems to make sense.
Zipping through a montage of nature/urban photography we find our hero on a space station orbiting solaris where the crew have all gone but mostly crazy. Slowly our hero begins to discover what is going on.
Tarkovsky's photograph is a must see. This is a 1972 Russia production and even thought the print has jumps and bad bits - UK or American cinematography pales in comparison, even today. This film is totally out there and like most of Trakovski's films and is full of philosophy and psychological drama. If you prefer a slow peaceful and thoughtful movie then this is the one for you. I also highly recommend Stalker which is another sci-fi classic from this same director.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 'distinction series' region A B C blu ray
This is OK, with decent picture quality of a standard you'd expect with a BD. You get the movie in Russian (sounds mono) and subs in English. Read more
Published 2 months ago by profileName
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to miss
A must for a sci-fi film lover and anyone who appreciates good cinema. The plot is extraordinary and the acting superb. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Apostolos
5.0 out of 5 stars "Solaris" (1972 Version) on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK...
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of the haunting 1972 Russian Sci-Fi epic “Solaris”. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mark Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars A planet of the mind (spoilers)
If Andrei Tarkovsky had been an English-speaking director, then "Solaris" would be known and loved as deeply as "2001: A Space Odyssey. Read more
Published 4 months ago by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Along with Criterion, this is the best!
I have the Artificial Eye Standard Definition DVD. It's a fair transfer, but it's split between two discs, and it hasn't got a very easy menu to navigate through. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. A. Bradford
2.0 out of 5 stars Dubbed into GERMAN
It's not very clear from the title, description or comments, that this is a German DVD. Look at the picture and 'language' and you will see this, but I didn't notice this. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tom
This dvd will only play with players operating under the same region code as the United States. Be very careful!
Published 11 months ago by Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Sci-Fi film ever made?
I first saw Solaris in the 1970s at a London cinema and the memory of it has haunted me ever since. The film is slow-paced but there is so much depth to it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by P. W. H. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb film
I saw this film after I saw Stanley Kubrick's 2001 and it's easy to see why the two films complement each other. Still looks thoroughly up-to-date even after forty years.
Published 13 months ago by Norah O Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars SOLARIS
The original and the best.

Some have compared this film with 2001. I don't see this at all. The two films are utterly different. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jet Lagged
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