Journey to Outer Space of Mind

This review will probably dive way deeper into philosophy than the film itself, giving the path mostly for your own thoughts than my speculations. The lockdown provided us with the chance to see new films or rewatch good old ones, but I never looked for easy ways. Suddenly this suspended time opened up a deposit of enriched thoughts, partly linked with films, thus my choice was made in favor of the most provoking and dualistic masterpieces of their times. It is not a battle, nor is it a comparison: I`d just talk around my refreshed impressions of two majestic films with unbelievable stories behind.

Solaris. The Tarkovsky`s Solaris.

The wide-known fact is that Andrey Tarkovsky, the director, and Stanislav Lem, the author of the novel, confronted a lot while filming Solaris. Tarkovsky had his own vision and strictly limited budget, but Lem insisted that he was filming whatever of Dostoevsky, but not Solaris. Both were genius, both created masterpieces with the same message and energy, slightly different from each other in shape and manner.

I somehow stumble up to a question how Solaris got its name, since the first-come mental link leads to ‘solar’ as ‘provided by the sun’, and the Sun, both in scientific context and common sense is seen as the source of life in all its forms and types. This can be easily argued over by today`s cosmologists who have almost caught the proofs by the tail that life was more possibly and even more accidentally delivered to our planet from outer ‘suburbs’ of the Solar System, but still no life and moreover its further evolution could have been possible without solar energy. Same with water or other liquid forms: Solaris is the ocean of unknown, with clouds of mystery, winds of uncertainty and waves of unexplored.


Some may say that Tarkovsky`s Solaris prefers to handle with romantics more than wisdom, with feelings prior to science, having a galaxy of top advanced filmmaking technologies and equipment and most progressive vision of its times. However its contemplative silence, cosmically flooded with Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ by Johann Sebastian Bach, throws open the human nature, the interconnections between fears, conscience, beliefs, mistakes, creeds, life, death, creatures, planets, outer space, intellect and hidden powers of all mentioned. Discoveries are to be made by the audience themselves, they are approaching your mind as hunters are approaching the town on the painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. We call this ‘Easter eggs’ or ‘links’ today, however back in 1972 it was still innovative and intriguing to build the scene around a special and well-known object or make things function ill way to slightly show the border between reality and dream. Be attentive, your eyes are your weapon against misunderstanding in complicated stories. This does not dismiss the main message of how dependent and limited one`s mind is comparing to something bigger, different and oversmarting, like a planet that has intellectual power of its own, strong enough to produce projections of the most hidden fears that correspondingly derive from the deepest sympathies and affections.


Thinking over Solaris and its reflective ocean, I defined it as a perfectly unexplored and purely unpredictable due to its uncategorized novelty model of civilization, and then ended up in sudden discovery that the most complicated but sometimes destructive human emotion is affection. It is the hardest one to overcome, so it holds its overwhelming power. One can step over enmity, calm down anger, wash away guilt, melt down indifference, but it is on the brink of cosmic impossibility to fight sympathy and cut off affection towards a person or a place or a thing. Maybe this is the top layer of a human`s power over emotions. Solaris proves to people that their tangible power blows to dust every moment they fall depending on their feelings. In fact, such capitulation happens every day, most of us do not even notice it, while we still aspire to rule our own planet and beyond. Given the urge for exploration and the universe endless and yet unseen, this natural, default ambition ignites the inevitable progress, until it stumbles up to the unknown, as I stumbled up to a question how Solaris got its name and why taming affection makes a person almighty.

Fairly the same case of inevitable affection lies in the very core of Christopher Nolan`s Inception. The film celebrates 10th anniversary of its theatrical release in 2020, it is considered as one of the most tailor-made plotlines in contemporary filmmaking. Nolan, famous for his large-scale projects, often sharing paths with comic culture walk of fame or top thrilling popular hypes, has made Inception his most powerful, bold and incredibly complete universe of own imagination. Industrial intelligence through multi-layer dreams invaded by well-trained psychologists leaves a victim no chances to even notice that something has happened beyond the rational edge of understanding, deep in his or her mind. A brilliant idea for Nolan the writer, a challenging battlefield for Nolan the visual master, a puzzling riddle for a viewer.

©Legendary Pictures, Syncopy, Warner Bros. Pictures

And here we go again: items (totems) as trappers between dream and reality, and projections of people who has made one`s conscience hurt. Solaris the smart planet provided its belligerent explorers with projections of ‘guests’ that actually were long real but dead due to scientists` crimes, sins or careless disregards. Nolan shares Lem and Tarkovsky`s vision of projections: Inception characters fears projections the most, but for their leader and mastermind of dream architecture (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio) the projection of his tragically suicide wife is the worst nightmare that poses a threat not for the process of interfering into dreams but to his own life. Fragile lines between spatial and coherent measurements, danger stuck in the air, dynamics in moments of time trapped in the middle of nowhere, imaginary mazes of subconscious quests – a dream job for a production designer.

©Syncopy Films, Warner Bros. Pictures

Having the very idea pure and free of any franchise or comic book origin, not associated with labels and trademarks, Inception proves to be a signature masterpiece of Nolan`s specific vision. His forthcoming spy thriller Tenet that keeps postponed for release due to pandemic employs relatively same subtext: time-travelling and time-changing technologies that pose a global threat if fall in wrong hands. Nolan sees innovations not just from the scientific angle: being both fantastic and utilitarian, his innovations are still some vaults of moral values, a learning tool that guides his characters to revelations and understanding. Time will show if he managed to not repeat the stroke of his own earlier insight.



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