Movie Information

Solatrium will screen at the Fine Arts Theatre, 36 Biltmore Ave., at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 17, and again at 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19.
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Chris Bower
Starring: Arielle Nicole Cartee, Draven Arcane, Leslie Muchmore, Tom Cook, Chaniqua Shante
Rated: NR

I finally caught up with Chris Bower’s much-touted Solatrium for its official Asheville premiere at the Fine Arts Theatre—and it lives up to everything I’d heard. This hallucinatory—almost hypnotic—20-minute sci-fi short is far and away the most technically accomplished locally produced film I have seen. It is also one of the most visually striking. From beginning to end, there’s scarcely a false step in the film, which truly creates its own world in its brief running time.

Though taken from a larger project and transformed into its short-film self, there’s no sense that Solatrium is in any way incomplete or a compromise. It feels wholly organic. There’s only the most slender of stories—more a situation really—to the film, which is mostly a mood piece that takes you into the world and mind of its main character as she drifts further and further into the drug-fueled fantasies that are meant to combat boredom and loneliness in deep-space travel. That’s it, but as a mood piece, this is heady stuff. It’s a pretty remarkable work and deserves to be seen.

Accompanying Solatrium is Daniel Judson’s 2005 student film, The Transmission, to round out the program.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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