Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Memory so easily speeds up when I want articulation of understanding to happen quickly. I had been repeating my understanding of something the makers of Solaris (a film) did. A bird is inches outside the frame during a certain shot. This belief is created by the twitching of some leaf/leaves and two chirps. I remembered the twitching as a very quick movement. But on 1|4|10 at roughly 7.45 pm I saw+heard that shot again. The presence and movement of a bird is certainly indicated. But the twitching is gentler and more prolonged than my memory.
p.s. My memory contained one brief chirp, which corresponded with the quickness of the twitching in my memory.

Like the shot described above, many shots in Solaris are lovely sentences. The one immediately after the one in which a bird's presence and influence are perceived. That shot is lovely in it's entirety. "Kris is walking through the forest" is it's description in the script. An extremely plain description. But the frame corresponding to that description is a mobile painting. Kris walks from left to right of the "forest" and the camera tracks leftward at an extremely slow speed. Obviously, the "forest" is actually not a painting but a location. But the location chosen certainly looks beautiful within the frame during the shot.
p.s. The inconspicuous leftward track corresponds with the extreme distance of the camera from Kris.
p.p.s. Kris disappears behind certain portions of the "forest" during some stretches of his walk through it.

The combination of green and black was lovely, was full of peace. Green plant matter dotting the black surface of the water in one portion of a small lake. I guess I called it full of peace because it was still but not stagnant. In other words, still but apparently clean enough to wash your hands and face with. Which is what the protagonist does after reaching one point of the lake's banks.

Witnessing the silent blanking out of a frame by starlight can be a metaphoric experience. When a star at a sun-earth distance from a space station is visible through a window of the latter, people walking towards the window would see varying amounts of the star depending on their angle to the window. And the vision of a camera following those people would get blanked out to varying degrees depending on the amount of light passing by the people. This is exactly what happens when Kris is walking with the support of two people during one shot. Two film critics have jointly described this shot as "Kris literally being led into the light" of Heaven/Divinity. And I felt at peace during this shot even before hearing the description or getting acquainted with Christian iconography.
p.s. The frame during this shot is mainly the result of a set, a strategically located piercing light, and the strategic movement of the performers and camera.

Witnessing the sound of bursting/shattering+bursting/shattering immediately after organ music may keep some first time viewers+listeners of Solaris engaged. The visual aftermath of that is a broken container of liquid oxygen, the top of which is shown spinning on a floor. From the spinning top, standing bottom and small shards the frame pans left to show a dead woman. Then, the frame during a later shot pans up from the open-eyed face and eerily spread out hair of the dead woman to show a distorted reflection of the same looking in a certain direction with purpose/intent. In other words, the reflection of the dead woman's face creates the belief that her eyes are seeing something rather than unseeing.
p.s. The reflector is a curved glass wall.

Broad and long aquatic grass created the belief in me that it was to seen as an equivalent of tentacles belonging to science fictional planet Solaris. This belief I kept in a compartment separate from the compartment of the fact that Solaris's director uses the same frame again in the film's final sequence as a reference to life on Earth.
p.s. The frame before the repeat is a descent through clouds which allow peeks at green hills. The frame before that starts by approaching Kris and ends by stopping near his right ear (which twitches a few times because Kris is talking).

The frames in which we see the planet Solaris are all, except for two, static. Meaning they do not pan, track, shift from wideangle to telephoto lens, or shift from telephoto to wideangle lens. And each of the static frames is distinct in terms of angle and/or pattern. Two of them focus on a large swirl each, but are at angles different from each other. One focuses on multiple small swirls. One focuses on what seem to be science fictional clouds. And one of the two non-static frames contains a yellow star on the cloud-lined horizon of Solaris and an arc of smoke or something else left behind by a rocket.
p.s. The moving frame described above seems to go from wideangle to telephoto lens, but it may also be tracking forward.

The seven successive frames depicting Kris's journey from Earth to the Solaris orbiting space station are lovely sentences. The second, third and fourth are lovely individually. The fifth, sixth and seventh are lovely as part of the sequence started by the fourth. The first is lovely as part of the sequence concluded by the second. A black rectangle dotted by stars, from among a cluster of which appears a gradually widening circle of the same colour as them, is the first frame. The second frame begins exactly when the circle has reached a certain width, making the former seem a depiction of movement by Kris's spaceship through outer space. The second frame contains Kris inside a glass shell, sparks cascading across the outside of the shell and the frame tracking back & forth (probably in combination with repeatedly switching from wideangle to telephoto lens & vice versa) during a certain stretch of the frame's duration. The third frame views the planet Solaris and the space station orbiting around it from inside Kris's spaceship. The fourth frame swiftly and briefly descends into the space station. The fifth frame views the switching on of one or two lamp clusters. The sixth frame views the sucking out of smoke or something else generated by Kris's spaceship during landing. The seventh frame views Kris and his survey of the landing cum take off area.

Witnessing darkness can be a metaphoric experience if the frame focusing on it approaches it, gets lost in it, then backs out of it. I felt a dread because the witnessing was accompanied by a certain sound. A drilling sort of sound, if my memory is serving me correctly.

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