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Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction: The Quest for Knowledge in Andrei Tarkovskii’s Solaris and Stalker

McLenachan, TW; (2014) Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction: The Quest for Knowledge in Andrei Tarkovskii’s Solaris and Stalker. Slovo , 26 (2) 8 - 29. Green open access

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Abstract

This article explores Andrei Tarkovskii’s conception of truth in Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979) as part of his wider philosophical project concerning knowledge. The director’s epistemological views form a core dimension of his life and aesthetic as he strives towards what he considers a higher, spiritual ‘idea of knowing’. In his search for this idealised notion of truth, Tarkovskii uses the medium of film to address what he perceives as a profound imbalance in modern civilization between scientific rationalism and spiritual/aesthetic ‘truth’. This is nowhere more prominent than in his two science fiction films, Solaris and Stalker, as he uses the genre as a battleground to discuss key debates in epistemology. Comparisons will be made with the Russian author and thinker Tarkovskii most revered, Fyodor Dostoevskii, and the Soviet-period science fiction authors whose works he adapted, Stanisław Lem and the Strugatskii brothers, in order to elucidate how the director came to cinematically represent his philosophy.

Type: Article
Title: Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction: The Quest for Knowledge in Andrei Tarkovskii’s Solaris and Stalker
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ojs.lib.ucl.ac.uk/index.php/Slovo
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share-alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. This license allows for redistribution and alteration, commercial and non-commercial, as long as credit is given to the author. To view a full copy of this license, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1451647
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