Repertory Picks

Tarkovsky’s Space Odyssey in Oklahoma City

This evening, and then again on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art will surrender the screen to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972). In the third of his seven stunning features, the famously uncompromising director applied his austere long-take aesthetic and heady metaphysical concerns to a loose adaptation of a novel by Polish science-fiction writer Stanisław Lem, which follows the mysterious story of a cosmonaut who travels to investigate a series of strange occurrences at a space station orbiting a remote planet. Soon he finds himself falling prey to what seem to be tricks of the mind, as his dead wife suddenly appears by his side in the flesh. At once a tactile tone poem and a philosophical space epic, Solaris also “helped initiate a genre that has become an art-house staple: the drama of grief and partial recovery,” writes critic Phillip Lopate in his liner essay for our edition of the film. “Like Mizoguchi’s 1953 Ugetsu, this is a story about falling in love with ghosts.” Tarkovsky fans in Oklahoma can see the film this week alongside the director’s subsequent sci-fi masterpiece, Stalker (1979), which we recently released in a new edition.

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