Soviet Union

164. Solaris

In SOLARIS, a cosmonaut travels to a space station to investigate why the residents have stopped communicating.  What he discovers is the planet’s ability to bring the subconscious to life, in the form of his long deceased wife.  There’s a lot that I enjoyed about the film; ethical questions about the definition of life and what we live for are explored through subtle metaphors and impassioned discussion.  These are spread out over long, slowly paced scenes with meanings that only become apparent in retrospect.  Most of all, however, I loved watching the wife’s development — she starts out as flat and convenient, the sort of female character I’ve come to expect in certain films, before growing into a fully autonomous person with her own hopes and motivations.  Unfortunately, I found the main love interest a little difficult to believe in.  And that’s a problem for a movie that’s supposed to have love as a central theme.