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May 08, 2011


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Mr Kenny, what do you make of the now blue tinted sequences of the Blu-ray? (Now matching the Ruscico version)


Yummmmm...cultural vegetables!

That Fuzzy Bastard

Is this a snap from the Blu-Ray? I don't remember the walls being that green even in the 35 mm prints I've seen.

Victor Morton

Hence ... their importance as cultural vegetables

Glenn Kenny

@ TFB: It's from the standard def of the new transfer.

@ Colin R. : I am not quite sure what to make of these, but note that the blue tint is not universally applied—it's there in some B&W shots but not in all. Clearly a good amount of deliberation was done. I'm investigating but I am not yet "outraged." As far as how they look/play, my short answer is "fine."

That Fuzzy Bastard

So here's a question... With a film like SOLARIS, how do you decide if the colors are right? I mean, that screencap looks way more saturated than the prints I've seen at Anthology, MoMA, and Lincoln Center. Then again, the prints I saw there were all sufficiently damaged that I wouldn't vouch for their authority. Vadim Yusov is still alive, but I don't know if he was involved with the disc. Meanwhile, I've always thought of SOLARIS as a fairly desaturated movie, but... maybe I'm wrong? Glenn, you've been very much on top of reviewing picture quality of these kinds of non-Hollywood releases, so how do you make that call?

warren oates


Kino's remaster of THE SACRIFICE is coming soon and the blogger below, also a filmmaker in his own right, helped to produce the new version. He explains how they judged the proper color timing from multiple sources, including an original release print.


Glenn Kenny

@TFB: I don't think "Solaris" was intended to have a quite-so-desaturated look the way much of "Stalker" did. The best-looking (clearest, least damaged, most fresh-looking) print of the film I ever saw was one of the egregiously cut U.S. release version, complete with the Columbia logo at the front, at Cinema Village way back in the '80s. I did get a chance to look at a good solid chunk of the Blu-ray this morning and it felt very satisfying and right, varied tinted scenes and all. As for what to look for in terms of color "accuracy," I always check whites first, then flesh tones, then...other things. In "Solaris" today I paid special attention to the Brueghel reproduction and the stained-glass window in the library of the satellite. Both looked fine.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Thanks, GK and WO---fascinating stuff! Tarkovsky has always struck me as a real head-scratcher for restorers, thanks to his deliberately limpid colors and frequently arbitrary (or at least hard-to-systemitize) shifts between color, tinted color, and b/w. But it hadn't occurred to me that his frequent inclusion of existing artworks provides an excellent place to start evaluating!

Terrifying to think, from Bret Wood's link, that color prints from the 80s are so important, considering their appalling tendency to go pink (I saw a print of THE MIRROR at Anthology that was so pink they apologized beforehand). I remember seeing CREMASTER 2 at Anthology many years ago, and it was shocking to see an 80s print that hadn't passed in front of a hundred lamps---the colors were as rich as when it was first struck, and it made me away of how few 80s films I've seen in their original, intended form.


A good number of Russian films from the early '70s have similar shifts between color, black and white, and tinted black and white; I always heard this was due to limited film stock, but that may be apocryphal?


According to a piece at Nostalghia.com from 2002 -


- Criterion had checked with Vadim Yusof before putting out their first DVD version of Solaris with the scenes in black and white, although it seemed strange due to the blue tinting on the Ruscico version. It seems that Criterion may have realised that just pure black and white was not quite correct, maybe by not properly interpreting Yusof's responses, and have rectified this for this new edition.

There was a small debate on the Criterion forum back in 2007 about the tinting. I have linked to page 3 of the discussion thread about the film, and the tinting talk takes place a little way down that page:


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