THE SUPERB SOVIET "SOLARIS"--MO September 17, 1973 NO.271--GP
--Vs. the American "2001" Space Idiocy!
Copyrighted September, 1973 by The Children of God Box 31, London WC2E 7LX, England or BP 752, 75123 Paris, Cedex 03 France
1. WE HAVE JUST SEEN "SOLARIS" FOR THE SECOND TIME, and would gladly have seen it a third time or more if we could have spared another three hours! It's one of those deeply moving, mysteriously beautiful masterpieces of real Russian art that you just can't seem to get enough of!
2. OF COURSE, MOSCOW'S MASTERLY FILM PRODUCTIONS ARE ALWAYS MAGNIFICENT MASTER WORKS of cinematography and serious thought, such as their colossal "War and Peace", the gigantic "Waterloo", the beautiful "Sunflower", the older but infinitely superior Russian version of "Rasputin" and many others.
3. THESE GREAT RUSSIAN FILMS ARE ALSO USUALLY AND UNDERSTANDABLY ART WORKS OF PLEASINGLY PLAUSIBLE PROPAGANDA as well, which of course is only reasonable, since they are making these films at considerable expense and effort in order to present the best side and the good effects of Communism and its basic ideologies in a way that will appeal to the rest of the world.
4. FOR THIS YOU CANNOT BLAME THEM, as good many Western films are often very anti-Russian and frequently unfair and almost totally prejudiced in their opposing picture of the Communists and their way of doing things.
5. SOME RECENT ANTI-RUSSIAN FILMS WE HAVE SEEN WERE SO TOTALLY BIGOTED that they couldn't portray a single good thing about Russia or the Russians, and according to them they were all bad and everything evil! Quite a few of these anti-Russian films of late were too obviously inspired by a certain minority in the West who are trying to turn the whole world against Russia because of their own persecution complex and paranoiac fear of being exposed as being ultimately always-and-only loyal to their own kind, rather than to the nations like Russia who have so hospitably hosted them!
6. NO PEOPLE COULD BE SO ENTIRELY WICKED AND EVERY ONE OF THEM EVIL as some of these hard-line anti-Communist Western propaganda films would have you believe all the poor Russians to be! No nation could have accomplished so much, progressed so far, influenced so many and inspired such loyalty and patriotism amongst its own people unless there was something good about it.
7. AND NO IDEOLOGICAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY LIKE COMMUNISM COULD HAVE SWAYED SO MANY and won such a tremendous following amongst most of the poor of the world unless there was something good about that, too!
8. IN FACT, THERE'S HARDLY ANYTHING THAT IS ALL BAD! 1 Timothy 4:4 says: "Every creature of God is good"! Even the devil and America must have their good points somewhere, but they're certainly hard to find! In fact, they were almost impossible to find in another recent scientific fiction film.
9. AMERICA'S OWN "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY" WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER CALLED "A SPACE IDIOCY"! Almost without purpose or meaning and nearly thoroughly unenjoyable, it began with the old fallacy of evolution and seemed fascinated with the ugly bestial violence and ridiculous antics of a bunch of demonic-looking "ape men", who were actually devoluted depravities dressed in monkey suits and hideously horrible gorilla masks!
10. AFTER SPENDING REEL-AFTER-MONOTONOUS-REEL OF WASTED FILM on the unintelligible gibberish screams and howls of these nightmarish non-existent creatures, America's "2001" makes a sudden abrupt and inexplicable jump into the 21st Century where the gorilla's bone becomes a spaceship for no apparent reason, and we're given our first relief from these nightmarish horrors with a little quiet space music!
11. WE HERE ENTER "2001", THE AMERICAN IDEA OF A MAN-MADE HEAVEN TURNED MECHANICAL HELL where American ingenuity and typical technical genius had finally and ultimately surrounded man with nothing but electronic gadgetry and the monsters of his own creation.
12. THE "2001" VILLAIN IS A SUPER-COMPUTER NAMED HAL WHO TRIES TO TAKE CONTROL of the spaceship and its crew on his own, and is only defeated again by the always-and-forever unfailing superiority of the darling and daring American hero!
13. FROM HERE THE "2001" NIGHTMARE PRODUCER STANLEY KUBRICK (WHO ALSO MANUFACTURED THE "CLOCKWORK ORANGE" HORROR OF CRIME) SEEMS OBSESSED WITH USING SOUND AND MUSIC AS A MEANS OF TORTURE and carries us on our screeching tormented way with all kinds of unbearable and ear-splitting-head-throbbing, terrifying noises, like a drug-addict's bad-trip nightmare in a hell of meaningless sound and colour, to a thoroughly inexplicable, pointless and confusing conclusion!
14. FINALLY AND AT LAST, THANK GOD, "2001" ENDS with a black rock that seems to be running the universe and apparently so frightens our hero that he crawls back into the womb and returns to embryonic form! Frankly, it made us feel like doing the same!
15. IF SUCH AMERICAN MOVIES AS "2001" HAVE ANY PURPOSE OR MEANING IT MUST BE PURELY ACCIDENTAL! Its one redeeming feature may have been how it showed that mechanical America's god would finally be a machine itself, an electronic monster, the work of his own hands, a talking idol which will automatically operate all of his scientific man-made and artificial environment and ingenious playtoys, as well as master man himself!
16. AMERICA'S "2001" IS NOT A SPACEY ODYSSEY!--IT IS AN IDIOTIC ORDEAL!--Take your ear plugs!--We had to sit with our fingers literally in our ears a good deal of the time of this torture! "2001" was a cheap, gaudy, brassy, noisy tinhorn American imitation compared to the Russian Tarkovsky's realistically beautiful, moving and soulful "SOLARIS"!
17. THE SOVIET'S "SOLARIS", BY STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL CONTRAST, IS ABSORBING AND MEANINGFUL AS WELL AS HUMAN AND PURPOSEFUL as it takes us on a thrilling trip into a much more spiritual realm of seemingly super-natural mysteries in which the Russians now excel!
18. SOVIET SCIENCE IS CONDUCTING THE GREATEST RESEARCH OF TODAY IN THE FIELD OF "ESP", or Extra Sensory Perception, actual human experiences thought to be normally beyond the range of our ordinary senses but now scientifically proven to exist, such as telepathic communication and other psychic phenomena! The Soviets are said to be as far ahead of America in this phenomenal field as the Americans are ahead of more primitive countries in manufacturing technology.
19. RUSSIAN PSYCHIC SCIENTISTS HAVE PROVEN THE EXISTENCE OF THESE "SPIRITUAL" PHENOMENA of Extra Sensory Perception, telepathic mind waves, human aura and actual life phantoms and are producing amazing colour films of these former fantasies and using them in their diagnosis of disease, demonstrations of the power of the mind over matter, prediction of the weather by psychic reaction and even the clearing of pollution by psychic energy! Their investigation into these formerly-thought-to-be-fanciful fields of the spiritual are now beginning to prove the actual existence of the realities of these realms!
20. SO IT IS WITH "SOLARIS": IS RUSSIAN SCIENCE TRYING TO PREPARE ITS PEOPLE for the news of the existence of these psychic phenomena and their inevitable encounter with some of their manifestations in dimensions thus far thought to be spiritual? Are they trying to explain these mystical mysteries in scientific terminology so that they will not be considered contrary to their materialistic ideology?
21. KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE NOW DISCOVERED THAT THESE MIRACLES REALLY EXIST, are they now compelled to describe their reality as perfectly natural phenomena created by understandable material forces, or even by forces as yet unknown but soon to be discovered by man with his scientific genius?
22. IN SO DOING, ARE THEY GOING TO TRY TO EXPLAIN AWAY THESE OBVIOUS MIRACLES of the supernatural with some natural explanation?--Or won't they rather be proving the existence of the spiritual, and therefore the ultimate possibility of the existence of some form of Spiritual Power or Higher Intelligence than their own!
23. WHO KNOWS?--THEY MIGHT EVEN STUMBLE ONTO GOD, TOO!--If they can explain Him scientifically! After all, they'll have to say something when they run into Him!
24. THIS SEEMS TO BE THE EXCITING THEME OF THIS THRILLING NEW RUSSIAN "SOLARIS" FILM version of Stanislaw Lem's book!--The discovery of God! Lem himself is an outstanding Communist cybernetic scientist and is considered one of the four greatest writers of science fiction since the War. His eighteen major works have exceeded five millon copies in 40 languages, half of them sold inside the USSR alone!
25. HOW COULD SUCH A PRODIGIOUS WRITER OF MONUMENTAL SCIENCE FICTION HAVE BEEN SO UNKNOWN to the Western world as to have had only two of these classic sci-fi works published in English, including "Solaris"? Could it be because of the blind bigotry of the West against anything remotely communistic?
26. UNLIKE WESTERN SCIENCE FICTION, WHICH SEEMS TO BE OBSESSED WITH A FASCINATION FOR CATASTROPHIC DESTRUCTION and the final fall of man as a victim to his own inventions, Soviet science fiction seems to offer some hope of deterministic Utopianism by man's own choice to use his discoveries for good, or that these resultant revelations will have an ultimately good effect on man and his progress.
27. THE SOVIET MORE OPTIMISTIC VIEW IS ACTUALLY MORE REALISTIC. It is even held by the Bible, in that man will eventually almost save himself by means of a Superman and a superhuman machine, but will ultimately fail and have to be rescued by God because man fails to give God the glory. So while Western science and science fiction lead the world to destruction, Soviet science and its more factual fiction seems to be at least trying to offer some hope of an answer and some possibility of Salvation!
28. "SOLARIS" IS A REMARKABLE EXAMPLE OF THIS WONDERFUL THEME OF HOPEFULNESS and possible answers in realms as yet unexplored, and which may even turn out to be spiritual realities and the true God!
29. HE'S NOT THE TRADITIONALLY MANUFACTURED GOD OF HYPOCRITICAL CHURCHIANITY and verbose religiosity, but the genuine Basic Power and Guiding Light of the Universe, which has in some way brought men into being, and, as his benevolent fatherly Creator, has some kind and benign purpose in store for him, a final fulfillment of his undeniably human aspirations for love, life, liberty and happiness!
30. HE'S NOT THE MALEVOLENT, HELL-BENT, PLEASURE-DENYING, WARMONGERING CRUEL DEVIL who's always the System-supporting lover of only the rich and who is seemingly worshipped by most of the rich churches and rich church people!
31. BUT THE TRUE GOD IS A GOOD GOD WHO IS KIND AND LOVING and concerned about His children, and who hates war and its rich perpetrators and deplores the poverty of the poor and their suffering, and is determined to set things right, even if He has to use the Communists to help Him do it!--Wow! Imagine that!
32. I DON'T CARE HOW THESE SMART RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER GOD AND EXPLAIN HIM, AS LONG AS THEY DO!--And this seems to be what they're driving at in "Solaris", a strange new planet which is one gigantic all-powerful Brain that has strange effects on the men who visit it, not always altogether unpleasant and even sometimes somewhat beneficial.
33. EACH MAN RECEIVES IN HIS OWN WAY HIS JUST DESSERTS as a gift of this oceanic Brain! In trying to be friendly and helpful, this omniscient Brain is sometimes misunderstood and thought hostile, and his deeds evil, as is so often man's misinterpretation of God's endeavours to help and teach him, like a child's resentment of parental discipline.
34. "NO CHASTENING FOR THE PRESENT SEEMETH JOYOUS, BUT GRIEVOUS. Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness"--Hebrews 12:11. God's spankings are sometimes hard to take, but they're a token of His love, His "intolerable compliment", and are good for us if we learn our lesson thereby, and are thus brought into harmony and happiness with Him and His creation and each other through truth, faith, love, repentance, confession, forgiveness and restoration to fellowship, regeneration and final resurrection to eternal joy!
35. ALL OF THESE YOU WILL FIND IN THE BEAUTIFULLY MOVING MOSFILM "SOLARIS"!
THE MOVIE ITSELF:
36. MADE IN THE USSR IN 1972 BY ANDREI TARKOVSKY FROM THE NOVEL BY STANISLAW LEM, "SOLARIS" stars the lovely Natalya Bondarchuck as the "ghost" of Hari, wife of the thoughtful hero, Chris, Donatas Banionis, together with the fatherly and philosophical Yuri Jarvet, all of whom render an outstanding performance in their deeply emotional parts, along with Anatoli Solonitsin as Sartorius, Vladislav Dvorzhetski as Burton Sos Sarkissian as Gibaryan and Nikolai Grinko as the Father.
37. BRIEFLY, "TIME OUT" CALLS IT "PHILOSOPHICAL SCI-FI AT ITS BEST! While a group of space scientists ponder their responsibilities in a space station in orbit around Solaris, the brain that inhabits the plant allows their fantasies and memories to escape into physical form and from the increasingly disordered space station."
38. But to try to give you the feel of the film, let's go back to the charmingly picturesque beginning set in the enchanting beauty of a Soviet Autumn landscape about a rustic country cottage amidst the resplendent colour of God's wondrous natural creation--Earth! The reverential musical background of Bach's F Minor Organ Prelude moulds the mood to one of an outdoor cathedral, the first clue to what follows.
39. THE CINEMATOGRAPHY IS SUPERBLY ARTISTIC as we look upon a dreamy rural stream. A lone bright yellow leaf floats blithely by, ignoring the ominous dark green fingers of the rushes reaching towards it from the murky depths, instantly symbolising what is to come, as man's shallow existence passes by on the surface of the stream of life against the deep, dark and mysterious background of the mystical and unknown! Tarkovsky was inspired as he constantly creates these symbolisms of apprehensive awareness of the fearful presence of the as yet unseen.
40. CHRIS, ALREADY GREYING IN HIS FORTIES, is soberly gazing into the stream as though endeavouring to search out its meaning, again a premonition of the whole theme of the film, the looking for answers to the deep and spiritual problem of life.
41. LOOKING LONG AND THOUGHTFULLY AND SOMEWHAT SADLY, he is no doubt contemplating his soon departure for the strange new planet Solaris to investigate the peculiar happening aboard its giant space station hovering above the creepy looking ocean, which is like the seething convolutions of a gigantic occult brain. It is almost as though he has a foreboding of death, that this may be his last trip, and he is reluctant to leave home, his aged father's cottage.
42. HIS PROFOUND REVERIE IS SUDDENLY INTERRUPTED by an unexpected visitor, Burton, a fellow cosmonaut and former crew member of the now nearly abandoned Solaris space station, who has come to warn him of the dangers he is soon to encounter.
43. IT SEEMS THAT SOME OF THE CREW MEMBERS HAD BEEN LOST on Solaris, and while looking for them, Burton had seen a horrifying phenomenon which left him in a state of shock: A monstrous baby as big as a giant floating on the surface of the ocean and making repulsive faces and gestures, loathsome, horrid and frightening! We later learn this monster was an exact replica of the deformed child of the crew member, Fechner, that Burton was looking for and who had deserted his wife and this child some time before.
44. BURTON MANAGES TO RETURN to the station in a state of near collapse, but no one will believe his story, and they simply dismiss the whole affair as a mental hallucination caused by the strain of his long hours of search.
45. NEVERTHELESS, VERY STRANGE THINGS CONTINUE TO OCCUR ON SOLARIS until the original crew of 85 is decimated to a mere skeleton of three, who are transmitting unintelligible communications, so Chris is being sent to close the station. Although warning Chris of the danger he is to face, Burton begs him not to close the station until they have solved the mysteries of Solaris. But Chris refuses to believe his story or heed his warnings, and Burton leaves offended.
46. CHRIS CONTINUES HIS PREPARATIONS AND FAREWELLS as he goes through his belongings and burns cast-off mementoes and papers, including the photo of a beautiful dark eyed, dark-haired girl, whom we're later to discover is his long-dead wife who committed suicide when he deserted her.
47. CHRIS' MOTHER, TOO, IS NOW DEAD for some years, and he and his elderly father have apparently been living alone together with only a housekeeper and her little girl. His father seems not only sad at his leaving, but also deeply hurt by Chris' seeming lack of concern for him. Chris tries to be sorry, but only continues to grieve his father, and they part in pain, like the Prodigal leaving home.
48. NEXT WE SEE CHRIS IN HIS SPACE CAPSULE and landing alone on the Solaris space station with on one to greet him. He wanders around the enormous station, lonely and looking for its inhabitants, and only finding everything in a terrible mess.
49. HE FINALLY DISCOVERS the elderly Dr. Snouth and eventually Dr. Sartorius, but they are acting very strangely and refuse to let him into their laboratories. He hears other voices, however, like that of children, sees children's drawings pasted to the walls, and a child's ball comes rolling down the hall toward him.
50. HE HEARS SNOUTH SINGING A LULLABY and talking as through to a child, and finally forces his way into Snouth's room and catches a glimpse of a large human ear of some huge child like creature swinging in Snouth's hammock. Snouth seems very upset that Chris may discover his hidden horror and insists that he leave. Chris demands to know what has become of Dr. Gibaryan, the third crew member and his old friend, and is dismayed to learn that he has committed suicide. He leaves Snouth and his oddly swinging hammock to try to find Dr. Sartorius.
51. BY THREATENING TO BREAK DOWN THE DOOR, he finally persuades Sartorius to come out of his lab and, talk to him, and while they're taking a small strange child in a straw hat darts out of the door behind Sartorius, who quickly pushes him back inside again and continues to talk to Chris as though nothing had happened, except that he seems terribly agitated and begs Chris to go away and leave him alone.
52. NO ONE SEEMS TO WANT TO TELL HIM exactly how Gibaryan died. Snouth had warned Chris not to be frightened if he saw anything strange, and when Chris asked him, "What will I see?", Snouth says cryptically: "That depends on you!"
53. As Chris leaves Sartorius, he strolls down one of the long curved galleries which are strewn with the kind of CHAOTIC LITTER THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN LEFT BY PLAYING CHILDREN. Suddenly he gets a brief glimpse of a beautiful girl walking barefoot and nearly naked through the hall behind him. He turns quickly, but she disappears through a door. He follows, only to find the frozen body of Gibaryan lying on the floor of what seems to be the walk-in meat freezer or cold storage room, but no pretty girl: She has vanished into thin air!
54. AMIDST THE WRECKAGE OF PERSONAL BELONGINGS in Gibaryan's office, Chris finds a video tape addressed to himself which he plays, and finds it's Gibaryan's farewell message explaining why he's committing suicide and yet not really telling him what's happening. Suddenly the beautiful girl he had just seen in the hall appears on the screen offering Gibaryan a glass of milk, but he pushes her away, irritated.
55. GIBARYAN SUGGESTS AS HE PREPARES TO DIE THAT THEY MUST DESTROY THE BRAIN, THE SOLARIS OCEAN, which is virtually the entire planet. Then the screen goes blank. Sartorius had sarcastically remarked that Gibaryan had turned coward and had asked to be buried on Earth. "He got a longing to lie in the dirt with the worms! But Fechner died gloriously!" We're not told how, but its implied that Fechner must have in some way tried to challenge the Ocean and died in it, and it was the horrible image of the abandoned child of Fechner's own deserted wife that Burton had seen there on the Ocean like a monstrous enlargement.
56. CHRIS RETURNS TO TALK TO SNOUTH and asked him, "Is there anybody here besides us three?" Snouth asks, "What did you see?" Chris queries, "I mean is she real, human? Can one touch her or hurt her?" Snouth retorts angrily, "You saw her last!--What are you?"--As though it were difficult to tell anymore what was real and what wasn't. "Where is she from?" Chris continues. "Leave me alone!" Snouth protests. Chris persists: "You're afraid, but I know you're not insane." Snouth snorts: "Good God!--Insane?--That would be a relief!"
57. Chris returns to his own quarters and listens again to Gibaryan's tape, who says, "They think I've gone mad, but be certain it isn't madness! I'm afraid. I'm scared! I can't stand it! Nobody will understand! Have you seen her? It has something to do with one's conscience."
58. Vainly stacking trunks against his door as though to try to keep out some unknown intruder, Chris lies on his bed with gun in hand and falls asleep. In his sleep, his darkly beautiful wife, Hari, appears at his bedside, and as he reaches up to kiss her, he suddenly realises he's not dreaming-she's really there. Frightened, he questions her, but she reacts naturally and seems surprised at this questions, as though everything were perfectly normal.
59. (At this point in the picture, MO's guardian spirit, Abrahim, comments to us: "It's all so simple! It's like the life of David!")
60. Hari seems to have forgotten a great deal, but asks if Chris still loves her, and he reassures her that he does, so she seems content just to be with him, while he's still wondering what this is all about. He's afraid of her and tries to get rid of her, but fails. He goes alone to discuss her with Snouth, who asks him, expectantly, "Well, who turned up?"--To which Chris replies vaguely as though lost in this thoughts of reliving the past: "She died a long time ago."
61. "IT'S YOUR MATERIALISATION OF HER," Snouth explains. "What's her name?" Chris explains that it's his long-dead wife, Hari, who had committed suicide when he left her years ago. Snouth grunts, "You're lucky she's only your past!... Apparently the ocean draws our memories from our minds."
62. IT BEGINS TO DAWN ON CHRIS HE'S BEING PLAGUED BY HIS PAST MISTAKES and haunted by former guilts in the from of the materialised phantoms of his deserted wife as a chastening for his sin. Night falls, Hari reappears, and he now seems resigned to accepting her, even loving her, and they go to bed together. Later when he tries to leave her in the room asleep, she batters down the heavy door with superhuman power and terrifying sounds and falls injured and bleeding at his feet, but suddenly heals completely!
63. SHE SEEMS ASSIGNED TO STAY WITH HIM INSEPARABLY, and he's not permitted to leave her any more, like a reparation for his past desertion, but Hari doesn't even understand it herself.
64. SHE NOW TRAIPSES ALONG WITH HIM WHEREVER HE GOES, and he eventually introduces her to Snouth and Sartorius, who smile knowingly. While she occupies herself like a child with baby pictures on the wall, the three scientists discuss their "guests". The cold, always-scientific Sartorius claims they consist of neutrinos, charged atomic particles with zero mass known as non-matter, which somehow Solaris force field has stabilised into actual materialisations, of whom Sartorius sardonically remarks that Hari is a splendid specimen!
65. CHRIS OBJECTS DEFENSIVELY AND INSISTS THAT HARI IS HIS WIFE, but the relentless Sartorius challenges him to test his "wife's" blood, which, when even burned with acid, immediately restores itself. "Regenerative immortality--Faust's dream!", Sartorius sneers. The ensuing conversation indicates that the cruel, feelingless Sartorius has been killing these creatures and performing operations and autopsies on them to determine their composition, and suggests that Chris try the same on Hari. But Chris infuriated, refuses still insisting she's his wife, while Sartorius contemptuously comments that she's merely an emotional contact.
66. Back in their room, Chris shows Hari some movies he had brought from home and it helps recall her own memories: How Chris' mother hated her and drove her from the house and that Chris later left her, which caused her suicide. She still has the scar of the drug needle on her arm by which she had taken the fatal overdose. Chris now seems very sorry and to truly love her, and at one point stands before an icon in his room as though in prayer and repentance.
67. HARI IS BECOMING MORE HUMAN every day and they are falling more and more deeply in love as never before, and she now seems to be able to exist for short periods without his immediate presence, as though love was recreating her in reality and Chris' own repentance is giving them a second chance. It's like Solaris is a purgatory where men's fates are determined by their reactions to their punishments. Some refuse to believe it, others fight it, but a few accept it, repent and are forgiven and given another chance to right the wrongs of the past.
68. EVEN THE OCEAN SEEMS TO SHOW SIGNS OF RELENTING, and the succession of nightly "visitors" is slowing down. Snouth suggests they send it a brain message, an encephalogram, a sort of confessional to try to make peace with the Ocean, and since Chris seems the most favoured, believing, repentant and partly forgiven, he is chosen to be the mediator for them all. It works! The Ocean begins to calm down and be pacified, and even sends up feathery angelic indications of its forgiveness.
69. AT SNOUTH'S BIRTHDAY "PARTY" the scientists discuss their situation, and even Hari takes part their philosophising. While Chris is perusing some scientific tome for possible answers, Snouth knocks it out of his hand with contempt and hands him a copy of "Don Quixote" instead, as though the mad knight's philosophising had much better answer than science.
70. AS THE ELDER SNOUTH DRINKS more and more of his birthday wine, he becomes more and more loquacious and bolder and bolder in his condemnation of man's totally materialistic scientific outlook and its vain motives in the exaltation of men. He proclaims that men merely wants to prove his own points and doesn't want to accept the deeper truths and real meanings of life. He indicates that men only sees what he wants to see, and resists the things he can't understand. Chris too is now more concerned with human values, of which Hari infers the greatest is love.
71. BUT SARTORIUS, ALWAYS THE PERSISTENT SCEPTIC, SNEERS at her, saying she's neither human nor a woman, but merely a double, a copy, a print, and that the rest are turning a scientific expedition into a bedroom farce, in which Chris and Hari are spending all their time in bed together, while Snouth stands idly by philosophising.
72. HARI CONTENDS THAT IT'S THEIR UNFEELING SCIENTIFIC ATTITUDE THAT'S WRONG, and that they automatically regard anything they don't understand as hostile, like the Ocean and its "guests". She proposes that their visitors are their own consciences, and that Chris' course of acceptance and repentance is the right one and their only hope.
73. THE SCEPTICAL SCIENTIST SARTORIUS SNEERS AT LOVE, and Hari is annoyed at his unbelief as he scorns Chris' love for her. Snouth begs them all not to quarrel on his birthday. "You're men," says Hari. "That's why you quarrel!"--As though being a man was sin enough! Snouth retorts that, though being men, they were laying down their lives for contact with this miserable Ocean!
74. HE SCOFFS AT SARTORIUS' EFFORTS TO FIND A SCIENTIFIC CURE that will rid them of these ghosts: "Sartorius is looking for an anti-immortality agent! Why don't we open the hatches and shout down to him? (The Ocean) Maybe he'll hear us!--Or shall we whip him or pray to him?" Chris and Hari leave in disgust.
75. HARI, APPARENTLY DEPRESSED by the whole affair and her own inability to understand what's happening and fearful that she's going to vanish again or be destroyed somehow, again tries to commit suicide by drinking liquid oxygen, which immediately freezes her solid and she dies, even her thin night gown frozen crisp like tissue paper! Chris is horrified, but sees her reflection in a mirror as though her spirit lives on.
76. THEN MIRACULOUSLY SHE BEGINS TO THAW out, the ice melts and her thin wet gown clings revealingly to her naked from as she writhes convulsively, jerking spasmodically as in the throes of an agonising death, only in reverse, as Snouth exclaims, "What a horrible sight! I can't get used to these resurrections!" As she regains consciousness she's tortured by the thought that she may no longer be the same Hari.
77. CHRIS TRIES TO REASSURE HER that although her reappearance may be some kind of torture or service to the Ocean, she's still dearer to him than any scientific truth! He no longer cares what she is or who she is or where she came from or why, as long as she's there, and love and emotion have become more important to him than mere scientific data.
78. SNOUTH AND SARTORIUS have now convinced Chris that Hari cannot live apart from the power of the Ocean that created her, and he cannot take her back to Earth, so he plans to stay with her on the station. But Hari continues to be troubled by now it all might end.
79. CHRIS BECOMES ILL, feverish and delirious and apparently dies, but suddenly finds himself walking down the hall reversed in his own image and direction like a literal simulation of metanoia, or conversion, the U-turn of the spirit, like a rebirth and he now seems to be one of the guests himself!
80. NOT REALISING CHRIS HAS CHANGED, Snouth meets him in the hall exclaiming excitedly," He's showing activity! (The Ocean.) Your encephalogram has helped!" Chris hints that in showing pity to them, the Ocean may have had to hurt itself, but has done what is necessary to save them.
81. SNOUTH REMEMBERS HOW TOLSTOY SUFFERED TO LOVE OTHERS, and he ponders over the meaning of love, which science can't even explain. He laments that one always loves what he may lose, and that perhaps Earth is beyond the reach of love.
82. HE THINKS MAYBE THEY'RE THERE TO DISCOVER THAT MAN IS LOVED BY THE BRAIN, Chris says Gibaryan didn't die of fear, but of shame, and that shame will save mankind. In other words, to be ashamed of one's sins brings repentance and salvation. (It's as though science cannot explain love, because God is love, and they don't even know Him!)
83. SUDDENLY THE SCENE CHANGES, and Chris is back in his quarters again still sick in bed, with Hari kneeling beside him as though in farewell, and the other Hari's are there along with his mother and pet bulldog, as though he had returned temporarily to his dying body and they were all there for his final death to welcome him into their fold.
84. SUDDENLY THE ROOM CHANGES into his old room at home, and he rises from his bed and embraces his mother, who is as young and beautiful as she was when he was a boy! She says he's late and he doesn't look well, and asks him if he's happy. He says that's irrelevant, but she seems to think his attitude is too sad.
85. SHE ASKS WHY HE HAD NEGLECTED HIS PARENTS SO, and exclaims how dirty he is, looking at the soil caked on his arm, as though he had just risen from some grave, and she goes to get a pitcher and washbowl to wash it off. It's as though he's been regenerated and resurrected and come straight from the grave with the soil still clinging to his body! He weeps like a little boy and cries, "Mama!", as he did when a child after a spanking.
86. AGAIN HE AWAKENS IN HIS BED BACK ON THE SPACE STATION and Snouth is there, but Hari is gone and has left him a note apologising for leaving, but suggesting that it's better for both of them for her to go, so she has asked the scientists to remove her with their new invention. Chris is heartbroken, but seems to have expected it. Suddenly his mother's pitcher is setting in the room as though she's not far away.
87. SNOUTH SORROWS THAT MAN HAS LOST HIS SENSE OF THE COSMIC which came more easily to the ancients. He says modern man has become like Sisyphus, a sceptic of Greek mythology who treated Zeus with disrespect and was therefore condemned to an endless punishment. He says, however, that in their case, since they had sent the encephalogram none of their guests had come back, and that islands were forming on the surface of the Ocean, indicating that their punishment might be ended and that the Ocean was forgiving them, and they think now that perhaps he understood them.
88. CHRIS WONDERS if Snouth still feels tied to life on Earth. Snouth replies that when a man is happy the meaning of life and eternal problems don't interest him, only when he faces death, and that man hurries through life because he fears death may come too soon. He says, "The happiest people are those who never ask these accursed questions!.. But to preserve truths we need these mysteries of life, happiness and death! (The things we can't explain, including love and guilt--and God?) He just tells Chris to try not to think about it.
89. CHRIS FEELS HIS MISSION IS ENDED and wonders what he's to do next. He says, "Have I the right to give up contact with the Ocean for which my race has been striving so many years?" It's as though he has discovered God at last and could not think of leaving. Snouth asks him what he's going to wait for:--"Fresh miracles?--You're not tired of all this?"
90. CHRIS DOESN'T SEEM TO KNOW that he's already one of "them", their former resurrected visitors, but the camera zooms in on a tiny new plant just beginning to grow out of the earth in a window box as though to explain his new life.
91. SUDDENLY HE SEEMS TO BE BACK ON EARTH AGAIN in the same scene by the water that was in the beginning of the movie, but now the water is frozen over as though symbolic of death. He walks down a staircase out of the trees like he's coming down from the sky, and his pet bulldog runs to meet him. He looks through the window of his father's cottage, and it seems to be raining inside the house! (An inside-out world, as in our "Green Door" experience, see Letter No.262.)
92. HIS FATHER IS STANDING THERE going through his books as the water trickles down his back. When he looks up and sees Chris come, he seems pleasantly surprised although seeing a ghost--and he is!--For the implication is that the father, too, is now dead and a ghost himself!
93. HE GOES OUT TO GREET HIM and welcome him home, and as we see Chris embracing him and kneeling at his feet like the repentant Prodigal Son, the whole scene begins to recede from us, until we suddenly discover that the house, the trees, the streams, the pond and the father and Chris are all on a new island in the Ocean, the Brain!
94. WE HAVE THE FEELING THAT HIS OTHER LOVED ONES ARE NOT FAR AWAY as well, and that the Brain has recreated all of the things that he loves, a second chance at life right there in the middle of its Purgatorial fires, like Heaven emerging from the lake of fire, through which he has had to pass to attain his reward!
95. THE FILM CLOSES WITH THE SAME BEAUTIFUL ORGAN MUSIC as in the beginning, and you're left breathless with the beauty and meaning of it all, and feel reluctant to leave the reverent atmosphere of such inspired holy ground of the spirit!
96. YOU'RE SORRY IT'S OVER and wish you could live through it again!--And we did!--We returned for another performance as soon as possible, and we're sure you'll want to do the same. It may sow the seeds of faith in your own heart, which will bloom as they did in ours under the inspiration of this majestic parable!
97. TARKOVSKY'S MOVIE ITSELF IS FAR MORE MEANINGFUL and even much more hopeful than the book!--The last scene with father and son being reunited isn't even in the book!--Neither are the first scenes of the beauties of God's natural creation!--And the book certainly lacks the movie's reverence of Bach's music!
98. THE SCENES OF HIS DEAD MOTHER AND THE DEPARTING SPIRITS and Chris' return to visit with her are also not in the book, but they are certainly in the movie!--And they are beautiful confirmation of his transference to the spirit world!--Of which, of course, the last scene of the Prodigal returned home is the clincher!
99. I HAVE AN IDEA THAT THE SOVIET PRODUCERS OF THE MOVIE WERE A LOT MORE INTERESTED IN THE SPIRITUAL and religious comparisons and a happier more meaningful moralistic ending than was Lem in his book!--And the producers have to be some pretty prominent Russian officials who didn't make this picture for nothing and without purpose! No film is made by the Soviet State without a good reason!
100. COULD IT BE THAT THE OLDER, MOST LEADING ANCIENTS OF THE SOVIET HIERARCHY ARE SOFTENING A LITTLE TOWARD RELIGION--or at least spiritual concepts?--Are they becoming believers in the "supernatural" in their last days as they themselves face the mysteries and fears of death with hopes for immortality and life after the grave?
101. IT COULD VERY WELL BE!--AND IF SO, I'M GLAD!--For in this film they have epitomised all the hopes and dreams as well as the problems and fears of both this life and life-after-death!
102. "SOLARIS" CONTAINS ALL THE TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE IN PARABOLIC FORM: God, Creation, sin, remorse, hell, purgatory, spirits, unbelief, faith, love, repentance, confessions, forgiveness, eternal life and reunion with our loved ones in a final home--like Heaven in the mind of God!
103. IT EVEN HAS CHRIST IN CHRIS, the suffer who atones for them all in his vicarious mental mediation with the Brain, the messenger of intercession whose encephalographic supplication brings them all forgiveness and salvation and release from the torments of their own sinful pasts, and who literally dies for them all!--Could it be purely coincidental that this hero's name is "Chris"?
104. WHAT DO YOU THINK?--SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!--You won't regret it!--It may even help you to find what they did!--And was his mother Mary?--You must see it! Even if you think it a counterfeit Gospel, it still proclaims the truth of the reality! SEE IT!
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family}