Brow Beat

Why Tarkovsky’s Solaris Is the Anti-2001: A Space Odyssey

Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris has been called the Russian 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Solaris might more appropriately be labeled the anti-2001. That’s the premise of “Auteur in Space,” an enlightening video essay from Kogonada, whose videos explore directors’ signature habits. Kogonaga smartly points out that Tarkovsky’s film, unlike Stanley Kubrick’s, is about humanity, not technology.

Solaris was adapted from the novel of the same name by Stanisław Lem, but ignores most of Lem’s astrobiological theories to focus on the relationships between characters—deliberately, as Kogonaga clearly outlines. Lem has said he has not been satisfied by any of the cinematic interpretations of his work, with some more egregious than others.