|Banionis and Bondarchuk give wonderful performances.|
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky
Written by Fridrikh Gorenshteyn and Andrei Tarkovsky (from the novel)
Starring Donatas Banionis, Natalya Bondarchuk and Jüri Järvet
Plot Summary: A planet's advanced intelligence causes a psychologist (Banionis) and his crew to have hallucinations on a space station.
Significance: Being one of Tarkovsky's most famous films, it was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (#154 in the critics poll and #225 in the directors one). It also won the FIPRESCI Prize and Grand Prize of the Jury awards at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d'Or. The film even received a Best Feature nomination at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Thoughts: Tarkovsky's sci-fi tale is his typical dreamlike fare. It takes its time, which doesn't hurt with a psychological thriller. As fantasy and reality intertwine, the film becomes very obtuse, but the atmosphere and performances make the challenge most welcome. Banionis gives an effective, reserved performance as Kris, a man whose mind is altered in space. His illusory wife is played to devastating perfection by Natalya Bondarchuk. In addition, the sets are fantastic, as is the framing of cinematographer Vadim Yusov. Tarkovsky can be quite dense, though I haven't disliked any of the four films I've seen. If you want an engaging sci-fi film, I'd suggest this one. (Note: I also watched Steven Soderbergh's 2002 version, and I prefer Tarkovsky's take on the material.)