This review finds me in the interesting position of revisiting a film I’ve previously reviewed here for the first time since I started this blog… this time it’s another loaner from Brendan of the Criterion edition. Last time it was a library loan of the two-disc local version, and in time-honoured library loan fashion some dickhead before me had maltreated the second disc badly enough that my old player wouldn’t play it properly; the Criterion edition is on one disc and so this time I actually got to watch the whole thing without problems. Since last time I’ve learned that, despite my remark mocking my old VHS copy for being so poor I didn’t realise some scenes were meant to be in black and white, well, those scenes actually were meant to be tinted blue… maybe. Evidence seems to be contradictory. And it struck me in a way I don’t think I’ve felt before that this film is titanically CREEPY. I suppose I did always recognise that it was, I mean just look at the events of the story with this sentient planet sending “guests” to the men on the space station—and what the fuck was that little midget thing we briefly see trying to escape Sartorius’ lab?—but for some reason it really hit me on this viewing, it’s actually quite disturbing on a number of levels, not least the whole question of how humanity reacts in the face of an alien encounter… in this case by failing at first to recognise it is an alien, then by threatening to destroy it. Not just alien, but godlike too… except creating man (or woman, or… thing) in man‘s image. Terrific to finally see this properly, and interesting to discover it was apparently quite a commercial hit in the USSR; can’t share Tarkovsky’s disdain for the film on the ground that it was too much of a genre film.