Music Literature Film Index About

Solaris, Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

Solyaris, Visual Programme Systems, March 20, 1972 (Russia)

Screenplay: Fridrikh Gorenshtein and Andrei Tarkovsky based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem

Starring: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet, and Vladislav Dvorzhetsky

(Natalya Bondarchuk): I have a feeling someone’s deceiving us.

I am driving a car that has a hole in the floor from which I can see through to the road. There is a car, a Volkswagen Beetle of some unknown year with a hole slightly bigger than a fist in its floor. I look away from the hole, out the car window. There are alternating landscapes dissolving, open fields, rolling hills, forests, and dark tunnels that cut through the hills and trees. The overall terrain seems to me preserved. The driver experiences a violent jolt to his equilibrium when the car enters any of the dark tunnels, resulting from the sudden shift when going from bright sunlight into complete darkness. I fear my mind is playing tricks on me in the tunnels, not only because of the totality of the darkness but also because of what I hear. In the tunnels, the driver believes he hears mournful cries, a psychotic pained squealing mixed in with the car’s own intensifying groan that is an old ornery engine echoing off the tunnel walls. The strange sounds frighten me. But then there is light as the car exits the tunnel and the strange cacophony ceases at once. I look out the window at the open field while the car continues on. There are no other cars coming or going in either direction. I notice that there are no other cars coming or going in either direction. Up along the road, there is a hunched figure atop a hill, but through the distance the figure is blurred to the driver. I see some sort of figure atop the hill and I wonder if the washed-out figure is a man, a farmer perhaps, and I think, he is walking, yes? The figure appearing to be a man, possibly a farmer, appears to be walking, ever so slowly, no? It is strange. I think that it is strange, the slowness of his movement that may or may not be happening. The car continues on quickly, with the road visible through the hole in the floor of the car. My attention is drawn back to the hole in the car and I feel suddenly hypnotized by the speed at which I am traveling as I look at the blur of the road passing beneath me. The road as seen through the hole in the floor of the car is a blur at this speed, and yet if the driver looks closer, for a spit-second he is sure he can see the gradients of the pavement. I turn back to the window to look closer at the man that appears to be a farmer. From outside of the car, the driver’s gaze takes place in silence, the same silence accompanying the figure atop the hill. I look out at the figure atop the hill and notice that he appears to be moving, but I strain to see clearly through the distance and so I cannot tell with certainty whether he is actually moving at all but I sense that something is wrong, either for him or me. From the outside of the car there is silence and then the dull muffled groan of a car passing, and the driver is looking out and his eyes are wide … I wonder again, is the man that may be a farmer actually moving? … The man in the car looks … The car continues … The farmer in the distance … I am frightened when I see the figure turning his head slowly in my direction … The man in the car looks away quickly … I see the road below … The man in the car sees the gradient in the pavement that only appears when he looks for a split-second … I notice the return of the blur of the road that is passing too fast … The driver is in fact thinking of nothing but the washed-out figure that appears to be a man, possibly a farmer, moving slowly … I am sure that he has turned his head to look straight at me … The man in the car turns his head to the window … I look out again, eyes wide open, and I see … The car continues on along the road that can be seen through a hole in the floor although the road is a blur at this speed … I catch a split-second look and swear that I see … There are gradients in the pavement. . . .