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From Russia with love

Tarkovsky, Solaris

With THE LAST STATION and A ROOM AND A HALF currently out in theaters, it looks as if we have Russia on the mind. I wouldn’t call it a frenzy – both films met with a so-so response from audiences, but the LACMA is doing Russia proud with its weekend screening series dedicated to Andrei Tarkovksy, the director who popularized Soviet cinema. Eisenstein may have paved the way, but it was Tarkovsky, with his keen sense of space and pacing who brought Russian cinema to the rest of the world. His characters usually find themselves trapped both physically and mentally between the material and immaterial world, like in SOLARIS (1972), which kicks off the series tonight. SOLARIS, set in the future (as imagined by a very 70s art department) follows Kris Kelvin, a researcher trying to make contact with a very strange alien life form. The harder he tries to make contact, the more problems he encounters.

Even if you’ve already seen SOLARIS it’s worth another look. I’ve seen it more than once and I’m still not sure I understand what’s going on. Not to miss is the black and white masterpiece ANDREI RUBLEV (1966) and the 2008 documentary MEETING ANDREI TARKOVSKY.

The Apocalyptic Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky at the LACMA, January 23 – February 5.