THE WAY WE WERE
In a post entitled “It Was All So Simple Then,” Mark K-Punk explores “the reality of nostaliga” in a typically wide-ranging essay that skips from Tarkovsky’s Solaris to Freud, Thomas Hardy, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Way We Were, Tarkovsky’s Nostalgia, Roxy Music, Marvin Hamlisch, Blade Runner, Samuel Beckett, the Wu Tang Clan and Charlie Kaufman.
From the opening:
The reality of nostalgia is nowhere better invoked than at the end of Tarkovsky’s Solaris. When the camera pans away from Kelvin embracing his father on the rain-soaked steps of his dacha, we realise that the scene is yet another of the simulations produced by the inscrutable planet. The whole film can be read as a treatise on the dangers and seductions of nostalgic desire. With the perversity of literalism, the revenants that the planet throws up consist of nothing but memory, and in the grotesque absurdities of Kelvin’s relationship with his wife’s double, Solaris demonstrates that desire may well depend upon the inhuman partner, but the inhuman partner alone can only be an object of horror. (And what is this dreaming ocean – absolutely alien to us, yet horribly aware of our every desire and memory – if not the unconscious itself?)