Lem 2021: Stanisław Lem on Film
  • June 4, 2021 through July 1, 2021

Towering … A visionary epic … Stands with the greatest science-fiction movies ever made.”

David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

No screen adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem’s work is more celebrated than Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris. Based on Lem’s eponymous 1961 novel, the Russian director’s metaphysical epic is often described as the Soviet 2001”—although Star Trek as written by Dostoevsky” (Jay Scott, Globe and Mail) also fits! A psychologist named Kris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) is sent to investigate strange occurrences on a space station orbiting Solaris, a mysterious planet with a sentient Ocean. There, Kelvin is confronted by the incarnation of Hari (Natalya Bondarchuk), his long-dead wife, and forced to relive the greatest moral failures of his past. A brilliant exploration of love, truth, and what it means to be human, Solaris is magnificently mounted in widescreen and colour. Steven Soderbergh’s worthy American remake, released in 2002 and starring George Clooney, also screens in this series. Solaris ranks with the best of Tarkovsky’s work, which is to say it ranks with the best movies produced at any time” (Scott).

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In every way a majestic and achieved work of art … Behind its fantastic exterior and subject matter, there is a quiet and philosophical human truthfulness.”

Mark Le Fanu, The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky

A sci-fi masterpiece … A great examination of the limits of rationalism and the perverse power of even the most ill-fated love.”

Salman Rushdie
Polish Cultural Institute NY