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General Information:
Year Released: 1972
Country: Soviet Union
Director: Andrei Tartovsky
Literary Source: Stanislaw Lem, Solaris

The Promise of Science: Alien Life

First contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is explored in many other ways. Solaris (1972, Soviet Union) examines the communication problems between humans and alien life in a deeper and more complete way. Alien life is encountered light years away from Earth on the planet Solaris, where a research-oriented space station has been erected. A team of researchers is stationed there, charged with learning about this planet and the seemingly sentient ocean that occupies the majority of the its surface. They attempt to establish contact with the ocean, who communicates back by creating physical apparitions from the memories of the researchers. One man, Kris, is haunted by his wife who has been dead for ten years.

This film is one of few to consider the impact of a human encounter on the alien being. Images of Kris' brain patterns are directed into the sea, in an attempt to teach it about humanity. Kris falls into a fever as the ocean probes him. When his fever lifts, the ocean is changed. It ceases haunting the humans with apparitions from their past, and its physical nature changes as islands appear around its edges. Contact between humans and an extraterrestrial intelligence is established, with profound changes to the experience of all concerned.

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. last modified: Jul 20, 2000 .