best film:  Anatoliy Solonitsyn has a role in every Andrey Tarkovsky film from 1966’s Andrei Rublev to Stalker in 1979. Each of these films are achievements worthy of close study and are of high artistic merit. These films (Andrei Rublev, Solaris, Mirror, and Stalker – in order) all stagger – and echo on as towering cinematic works. For Solonitsyn, he is front and center for two of them (Andrei Rublev, Stalker) and far more in the background in the other two (Solaris, Mirror). Stalker is the best of them – and it is one of the preeminent films of all time. Solonitsyn plays Pisatel – a triumph right there with Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy’s in the same film.


Anatoliy Solonitsyn (from Stalker here) had a grave disposition and an intensity that made for a perfect marriage with Tarkovsky’s work.


best performance:  Anatoliy Solonitsyn was discovered by Tarkovsky and cast as an unknown for Tarkovsky’s sophomore effort, the brilliant Andrei Rublev. Solonitsyn’s performance is one of the ages – there is enough here in the performance to applaud both the triathlon, feat of stamina aspect of his accomplishment (the film is over 200 minutes long) along with the degree of difficulty in the complexity of the performance. Solonitsyn’s achievement goes down as one of the best acting debuts in history.


the then unknown Anatoliy Solonitsyn was cast by Tarkovsky here in Andrei Rublev because of his supposed resemblance to Rublev. The results of the casting are one of the great acting debuts and overall performances in film history.


stylistic innovations/traits:  Anatoliy Solonitsyn’s resume features one colossal performance of course (Andrei Rublev). He backs that up with a performance like his work in Stalker (listed inside the top ten films of all-time on last update) to make for such a convincing second act. Solonitsyn’s filmography is truncated and spotty beyond that. His minor part (he plays Portnov, the Nazi interrogator) in Larisa Shepitko’s The Ascent (1977) helps to give him a little variety outside of the sphere of Tarkovsky. Still, he is here because of his collaborations with Tarkovsky – and if an actor had to be paired with an auteur – there are few better to be paired with in cinema history. Solonitsyn died young at the age of forty-seven (47) in 1982. Tarkovsky had planned on Solonitsyn for Nostalghia (1983) but Solonitsyn was too ill to travel to Italy for the project.  Solonitsyn played a doctor twice (Solaris, Mirror), was known for his trademark receding hairline, and certainly his severe expression fit perfectly in Tarkovsky’s world.


Solonitsyn in Tarkovsky’s Solaris – the second of four films they would make together from 1966 to 1979


directors worked with:  Andrei Tarkovsky (4) and Solonitsyn is the best actor of the many talented Tarkovsky collaborators 


top five performances:

  1. Andrei Rublev
  2. Stalker
  3. Solaris
  4. The Ascent
  5. Mirror


archiveable films:

1966- Andrei Rublev
1972- Solaris
1975- Mirror
1977- The Ascent
1979- Stalker