The Multiverse According to Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky | tomatoes

Solaris from the Soviet director Andrey Tarkovsky It is not only considered one of his best films but also one of the masterpieces of science fiction cinema. Based on the science fiction novel of the same name by Stanislaw Lem from 1961. This story is considered one of the best depictions of the human race’s encounter with superior alien intelligence, earning the well-made film a place at the pinnacle of the genre.

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The film has as its starting point a space station that has been placed in orbit around the planet Solaris and its frustrated attempts to study it that have spanned many decades. Those people who have been sent to carry out this task have suffered a variety of strange psychological symptoms. It is then that psychologist Kris Kelvin —played by Donatas Banionis—He travels to the station to investigate the situation, there he only finds two survivors and tries to understand the strange effects that they have suffered on the planet.

He himself will begin to suffer what appears to be a hallucination when his deceased wife, Hari—Natalia Bondarchuk—, appears to him at the station, but soon discovers that she is actually a creation of the planet materialized from Kelvin’s memories. The rest of the crew on the station have experienced similar manifestations, which are interpreted as an attempt by the planet to communicate with them.

The story becomes a haunting meditation on the nature of reality and the possibility of human beings establishing communication with intelligences that are truly foreign to them.
Thus, the narrative of this film offers us a model of interpretation based on the human view of everything outside of it, in this case, by not being able to recognize that the planet already interacts with them and that it is a living being by itself. But in a much more hopeful scenario for the human race, this other being also ventures to recognize the human race through the replicants that he creates.

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The narrative invites us to reimagine our relationship with our environment and “the other”, as an allegory of our own planet, and above all, it proposes an alternate dynamic, from the mutualist sense, to how we live with it. The author douglas brode points out that history is supported by astrobiology, which concerns the very concept of life and what humanity classifies as such.

He also adds that the central idea of ​​both Lem’s story and Tarkovsky’s film —as well as Boris Nirenburg’s also great television adaptation in 1968— is to reveal the origin of life in any area of ​​the cosmos, as well as the determining factors that make life unfold in a specific situation. In this way, the scientists of the space station will have to put aside their limited perceptions about the universe and the life that inhabits it in order to survive their encounter with the ocean of Solaris.

In this narrative about a new world with its own intelligence, personality, and even morality, the idea of ​​the multiverse is present with the concept of “another world” of the fantastic genre, but also recurring in science fiction, which is quite malleable. according to its context, but it counts as a base the guideline of an impossible autonomous world. Of course, with the progressive advances of science, the way in which these other worlds are conceived is also highly changing, in the same way that science fiction has evolved during the last hundred years.

Within the other worlds, the possibility of the world of wonders enters —with totally arbitrary and possibly changing rules and that of the fairies, known as “Fairy” is an anglicization of the French faerie (enchantment). Although on the surface these worlds may seem radically different from what is proposed with the planetary connections of science fiction, the truth is that they all share a large number of elements in common.

In parallel, Solaris also meets the requirements to be considered a planetary romance, extremely popular in the 1970s, which takes place in an alien world, commonly complemented by the existence of monsters and alien creatures, but more commonly telepathy or other supernatural powers similar to magic.

Within this narrative commonplace, the hero comes from Earth, and the events that occur lean towards the supernatural, leaving aside the technological aspect of the genre, here the encounter between two worlds is also the common thread of this story. In the case of Solaris, the relationship between Kelvin and Hari serves as an allegory for each of the proposals of the story and its implications with the search and encounter with non-human life. This subgenre of science fiction has its origins in the first novels known as “African adventures” in the 1880s. Known as that of “lost civilizations,” which have been deliberately forgotten or hidden that occupy underwater or subterranean realms or hidden valleys , or some other forbidden place on our Earth.

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This sense of delving into the unknown—worlds, universes, dimensions, or societies—certainly belongs to speculative fantasies. But the true location of this subgenre flourished in serials and stories published in magazines where the “lost” motif extends to temples, arks, lost grails, cities and continues to this day with the stories of Indiana Jones. Despite this great tradition behind these narratives from other worlds, they were fundamentally stories with a strong charge of racism and xenophobia, which in the best of cases exoticized that other culture “discovered” by the West as a fetish or appropriation. cultural.

The existing conventions within these stories start from the perspective of a protagonist who
they stumble upon primitive societies or remote civilizations in the confines of the planet that evolved to space exploration, and thus enter the land of interplanetary travel tales. Although for the most part from this combination of motives, stories were born that moved away from dystopian and utopian content, or even idealistic, to become simple stories of romance and exploits on an exotic planet or territory.

Right at this point, the narrative vision of Solaris becomes more important, since the proposal goes far beyond a simple meeting, becoming at the end of the film a total recognition of one another, thanks to Kelvin’s decision to stay on the planet. The story itself is considered by the authors gerry canavan Y kim stanley robinson as an ecological metaphor in which a deep reading of the mutual relationship between two conscious entities is carried out in a moment of mutual curiosity.

Thus, Kris Kelvin’s role as a mere distant observer on the surface looking down on his space station changes to that of being an active participant in knowing the relationship between himself and the ocean that he interacts with and will end up with. forming a new —apparently—symbiotic relationship. This change thus becomes the proposal of history towards a better relationship with the planet, but of course it also applies to the notion of the “other” with new cultures or simply different points of view.

Finally, the fact that the change is in the very notion of what life is, implies reconsidering the production of knowledge, something that is by far the most revolutionary and rebellious idea of ​​the film. This ecological metaphor thus encourages us to consider different ways of interpreting life within the perspective of our own knowledge and open our minds to new alternatives so that together —humanity and planet— we can come to fruition.

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The Multiverse According to Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky | tomatoes