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Greg Gerke is the author of the essay collection See What I See (Zerogram Press).

 

Gerke’s work has appeared in Tin House, Film Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, and other publications. He is also the author of a story collection entitled Especially the Bad Things, which was published by Splice in 2019. He lives in New York.

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Otherppl with Brad Listi is a weekly literary podcast featuring in-depth interviews with today’s leading writers.

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A good friend in Oregon once showed Andre Tarkovsky’s Solaris to his movie group, resulting in him never being able to choose a film for the group again. Complaints about slowness, confusion about who is who. Solaris is slow and confusing. That is the crux of its art.

In Solaris, psychologist Kris Kelvin is summoned to go to a space station orbiting an ocean planet called Solaris. The crew there has endured severe emotional traumas and the goal of trying to study the planet has gotten nowhere. Kris is to assess what is going on but shortly after he arrives he starts to have hallucinations himself.

Solaris defies expectations for a “science fiction” film but it also defies itself. It is jumbled, like our brain pans, by design. Its mysteries manifold, it is a film that communicates through its cinematography, a rarity, but this communication is something so rich that it can’t digested in one viewing, or two…