What's on at Cinema City - Philosophers at the Cinema
Director: Andrei Tarkovsky.
Starring: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet. Soviet Union 1972. 166 mins. German and Russian with English subtitles.
Adapted from the novel by Stanislaw Lem, SOLARIS remains one of Tarkovsky's most famous films. Remade many years later by Steven Soderbergh, this original version of SOLARIS is a meditation on the nature of desire and memory, and the self-imposed walls that keep us from realising our greatest wishes.
Tarkovsky reportedly re-shot more than 40% of the film, despite the constant protestations of his Soviet Film Board superiors. The film's visual sense and pacing are extraordinary, while the central idea of a man's wish to correct the mistakes of his past is given a cinematic quality that is its exact visual equivalent.
John and Laura Baxter are living in Venice when they meet a pair of elderly sisters, one of whom claims to be psychic. She insists that she sees the spirit of the Baxters' daughter, who recently drowned. Laura is intrigued, but John resists the idea. He, however, seems to have his own psychic flashes, seeing their daughter walk the streets in her red cloak, as well as Laura and the sisters on a funeral gondola. Nicolas Roeg’s thriller, evoking an aura of menace throughout, has a sexual honesty that is startling even today.
The feature debut of former Gucci Creative Director Tom Ford, A SINGLE MAN follows a day in the suddenly shattered life of an English professor, George (Firth), whose partner of 16 years has unexpectedly passed away. Complicating this scenario is the fact that the year is 1963 and George's partner was a man. Despite the first stirrings of sexual revolution on George's California campus, he exists in a world of antediluvian academia, in which his secret grief dares not reveal its true nature. As he seeks solace in professional routine, narcotic pills and his best friend Charley (Moore), he begins to question whether he will ever escape the prison of his solitude. Freed from the strictures of the British rom-com, Firth offers a masterclass in quiet devastation.