Wednesday, November 16, 2005


After the midday concert, I went to see Tarkovsky's Solaris at the Musée du Cinéma (two museums in one day (a work day, no less), a record!

My first Tarkovsky, my first visit to the museum, which I imagined a haven for hardcore movie fans. It all started out rather farcically. There was a massive line (around 60 people, I heard) who had not yet bought tickets (I had bought mine the previous day), I think pretty much all of them were turned away. I had to engage in a ridiculous haggling session to actually get in, because of my lack of knowledge of the museum's arcane ticketing policy. A few attendees couldn't remain quiet for 165 minutes. The image quality was fairly poor: at one point, black lines threatened to cancel out the images entirely. A woman at the back sanctimoniously declared (during the film) "Mobile phones aren't allowed" to which the target's partner replied "Yes, he's trying to turn it off." Through all this, there was a film going on and I was fighting to stay awake. IVN lost the battle utterly and slept through most of it. I struggled early on but then was fully alert and was left pretty much baffled.

I don't think I understood very much. I haven't read the book, but I have seen Soderbergh's version (since George Clooney is in it, it was inevitable that IVN would rent it). The opening shot is great, as it seems to say that the story's main character is no more important than an underwater plant or any other part of the decor. Thus, when the camera starts following his movements and gaze in a more traditional manner, it's kind of a shock. There are a few easy-to-grasp philosophical pronouncements (on man's relationship to space exploration, for example, which is totally true if you think of the mirror-to-humanity role aliens play in, say, Star Trek). But mainly, I'm unsure who some of the characters are (Kelvin's mother? The woman with his father? Berton?) and not much more certain of what happened and what it was about. I spent a lot of the "empty" moments wondering if I found it fantastic or an utter waste of my time (there's a room at home I need to paint). It could go either way, I really don't know. Maybe it'll come into focus over the next few days. Links to explanatory articles are welcome. Tonight I intend to go see the World Saxophone Quartet play Jimi Hendrix. I expect the questions, answers and point to be infinitely easier to grasp.

And what's up with the horse?