Watch: The Remarkable Similarities Between Kubrick and Tarkovsky

The two auteurs go head to head in this video essay.

Andrei Tarkovsky once labeled Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as a "phony" film with "only pretensions to truth." The Russian director's own sci-fi epic Solaris came out just four years after Kubrick's, and the similarities between the two are pretty glaring. Both hallucinatory, both focused on the isolation of man and his place within the greater ethereal sphere of the universe. 

Video editor Vugar Efendi's latest essay provides us with not only a side-by-side comparison of the space ship designs in 2001 and Solaris, but how "to some extent, they share the same philosophical and thematic undertones in their filmography." Take a look below:

One of the only themes that didn't appear to be mutual was respect for each other's work. While Kubrick claims to have appreciated Solaris, some critics have gone so far as to say that Tarkovsky intentionally made his sci-fi in an attempt to outdo 2001.  

In my humble opinion, a little competition between filmmakers never hurt anyone, especially when we're talking about two of the greatest filmmakers to have set an eye behind glass.  Audiences living in the sixties and seventies were lucky enough to have both these directors releasing films at the same time. No doubt, despite denials from either camp, their work influenced each other, as it rightfully should have.     

Your Comment


Thank you for this wonderful video.
I read somewhere that, Tarkovsky did not watch 2001 before making Solaris.
It was a coincidence.

July 22, 2016 at 1:44PM, Edited July 22, 1:44PM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

July 23, 2016 at 3:06PM

Nicholas Bradford-Ewart

I have the utmost adoration for both of these directors and I am sure they influenced each other a bit. However, this comparison video is so off. Way too much of a stretch. The shots are not similar at all. Some of these comparison videos are good like the one on Inarritu and Tarkovski, which was mind-blowing. This one doesn't work. Both of them had incredible photography compositions and careful camera movement. Perhaps more similar shots could have been chosen for the argument.

July 24, 2016 at 12:34PM

Will Weprin
Cinematographer, DIT, IATSE LOCAL 600

Agreed, I knew what I was in for with 2001 and Solaris, these shots and themes however are in many films. Both are masters but I dont see much similarity.

July 27, 2016 at 6:57AM

Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer