He has the possibility to watch movies in his motor home. But he has only two DVD’s with him. One he received as a gift from his Polish friend Magda. An English movie titled “Withnail & I”. Magda is pretty excited about this movie and he finds it also a fine example of English entertainment.
The other film is a different cup of tea. In July 2002 he was working in Toronto, Canada, on his project “World of little heroes” when he went to see a recently released movie called “Solaris”.
He had three reasons to see this new film.
One was that he had read the book “Solaris” by the Polish writer Stanislaw Lem many years ago.
Second was that he found the director of the new “Solaris” film, Steven Soderbergh, always making interesting films.
Third was that he had seen Andre Tarkowski’s film based on the book “Solaris” and wanted to compare.
The “Solaris” film by Soderbergh made a deep impression on him. In Toronto he went to see it three times in four days. And as of then he has a pattern of buying the DVD of this film, seeing it again, giving the DVD to friends and buying a new one soon after. This protocol he has repeated many times.
Last night, in his motor home on his MacBook Pro, he saw “Solaris” again.
It is the story of Chris Kelvin, a psychologist. (Played by George Clooney)
A company, who has an exploring spaceship in outer space, circling around a planet called “Solaris”, needs Kelvin’s help.
The crew is in an erratic state and unable to return to Earth. Kelvin goes to the spaceship to find out what is going on and bring the situation with the crew back to normal.
Kelvin finds in the space ship a bizarre situation that doesn’t make much sense. Until Kelvin goes to sleep. Kelvin dreams of his wife Rheya (played by Natasha McElhone) who has committed suicide years before.
When Kelvin wakes up, Rheya is sitting next to him. Alive and well. In flesh and blood. “Solaris” has the ability to influence human beings in a way that persons from their past, who are dead, appear again and exactly as they were.
This poses a moral problem. Is the human being to accept the clone or not? Initially, Kelvin takes a scientific and rational attitude. Kelvin lures Rheya into a smaller spaceship and sends Rheya off into space thinking the dilemma and problem can be effectively solved in this way.
But soon after, Rheya is back in his reality not having memories and not understanding why she is there.
Kelvin then realizes he still loves her.
Rheya committed suicide after Kelvin rejected her when she had, without asking him, aborted their child. Kelvin left the house while Rheya was pleading desperately that she couldn’t live without him.
Kelvin did come back that night, having come to his senses, but it was too late. Rheya had taken an overdose and was dead with in her hands a text: a poem by Dylan Thomas “And death has no dominion”.
Now that Rheya was back in Kelvin’s life, although as a clone, Kelvin wanted to make good what he had been doing so fatally wrong before.
Eventually the issue in the film becomes whether Kelvin should return to Earth and leave Rheya and his love for her behind, or stay not knowing what will happen except that it would be a choice for Rheya and their love. The most absolute choice.
The choice between the rational or the emotional. A choice for love or a rejection of it. A choice to return to the known or to enter the unknown.
What did Kelvin do?
This we will read in tomorrow’s blog.