Sunday, 6 August 2017

Solaris | Steven Soderbergh, 2002

There are two shared images in Steven Soderbergh's Solaris. The first is a calling card, a recorded message from Dr. Gibarian, an old friend on a space station, delivered directly to camera, calling on Dr. Kelvin to join him in investigating a mysterious planet known as Solaris. This message is brought by two high-ranking officers to Dr. Kelvin and played in its entirety on a screen in his home in front of all of them. It's hard to say no to the face of a friend. Once it's over, the image stutters and pixelates. It's not real anymore. It's a message embalmed by technology. The past revived in the present.

The second shared image is on the space station: the "facsimile" of Kelvin's dead wife, a product of his memory rendered in flesh by the strange planet. She appears in a locked room on the bed next to him, caressing the back of his head as she used to. She has memories of their life but can't place herself within them. He can't help but fall in love with her again. And why wouldn't he? He can see her, feel her, hear her; and so can everyone else on board. She's as real as Gibarian's message, and they're both a proof of life. Kelvin knows she's fake — but he loves her anyway. "All I see is you." Irrational love. Pixels on a screen. The past is the present.

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