Steven Soderberg has created an amazing version of Stanislaw Lem’s novel “Solaris” (also a 1972 Russian film by Andrei Tarkovsky)that will probably be discussed for a long time. Soderberg wrote the script, directed, served as cinematographer(pseudonymously) and (possibly via a pseudonym) as editor. The new “Solaris” is gorgeous and technically superb and is a bold statement that frustrated members of the audience who were there when I saw it last night. It’s being marketed as a love story, which is part of it, but what it really does is return to the big-budget art-house science fiction film that uses sf to explore philosophical and emotional issues. It combines Tarkovskian elements with a dollop of Kubrick and hints of “Wings of Desire” and a stylized soundtrack, look and editing style that I slid into like a warm bath. While I’m thinking of Wim Wenders, it’s in the same territory as “Until The End of The World” which also used the future as a way to explore the relationships between characters. One last cinematic link would be to Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451” which put the emphasis on the ideas and not the science.
Soderberg’s “The Limey” is one of my favourite films with brooding pacing and a distinctive style of editing that fragments the story and structures it emotionally as opposed to chronologically. It slowly works its way into your consciousness and keeps bumping around there, making you look at the world in a different way. I definitely want to see it again in a theatre.