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Solaris - Andrei Tarkovsky | Last Train Home - Lixin Fan

Created by cmiles on 8/23/2011. Updated by Wordpresss Import on 4/18/2022.

Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris is certainly a science fiction classic - not a blockbuster action film, or filled with the stunning visuals that you might expect in a post-Matrix world, but still captivating. I have not read Stanisław Lem's novel - but one thing that comes across in the movie was the failure of the characters to understand the alien planet/being Solaris. A deeply foreign setting with difficult (?impossible) to understand situations and relationships.

Last Train Home is a documentary that follows the Zhang family's life in China over several years - life in the country side, work in the garment industry in Guangzhou and their travels home for the Chinese New Year during the world's largest human migration. It is always a joy and a privilege to get a glimpse into foreign places and people. Having never having journeyed to China this film is absolutely fascinating to watch. For me, some of the locations in Last Train Home were deeply foreign - but the emotions of the characters were painfully familiar: aging, sacrifice, teenage rebellion, struggle, love, conflict... A deeply foreign setting with very familiar situations and relationships.

Solaris reminds me of the unfulfilled science fiction visions of my childhood - interstellar travel to a colony around an alien planet - Last Train Home reminded me of the adult reality that no matter how deeply we travel into foreign settings our problems are likely to always remain the same.

Solaris Rating: 4 of 5 (but expect introspection over action...) First Watch Date: August 2011

Last Train Home Rating: 4 of 5 First Watch Date: August 2011


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