after dark

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 March, 2003, 12:00am

You get the tickets. We've got the plan.

Sick of economic doom and gloom, budgetary demoralisation and constant number-crunching to make ends meet? Unpack your space suit and launch yourself into a sci-fi classic that has more to say about real life than most of the strange alien creatures occupying that zero-gravity zone known as the Legislative Council.

The event: Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney have been hogging entertainment headlines recently for their souped-up remake of a film which has impressed the critics but failed to put bums on seats on its release in the United States. Before we get the chance to decide on the merits of their work, let's immerse ourselves in the 1972 Russian original. Solaris is the story of a psychologist sent to a space station orbiting the watery planet of Solaris to investigate the strange death of a doctor and mental afflictions suffered by other crew members - caused, he soon discovers, by the planet's water, which can 'think' and draws out repressed memories and obsessions. This ground-breaking cult flick (based on a short story by Stanislaw Lem) switches from black-and-white to colour and blurs past and present in an incredible examination of the human condition.

The original version is being screened as part of the World Classic Film series co-presented by the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the Hong Kong Film Critics' Society. Sunday, 2pm (followed by a lecture) and March 23, 5.30pm. Lim Por Yen Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Wan Chai. Tickets: adults $50 or $70 (with lecture); concessions $50/$30 from HK Ticketing. In Russian with English subtitles.

Fill the void: After such thought-provoking fodder, you might want some food for its own sake. Having had the mesmerising conjugations of the Slavic language fill your ears, let its cuisine satisfy your stomach. Russian-themed restaurant Balalaika may be a bit on the kitsch side but it makes for a good distraction in these tough times. Tasty homestyle Siberian pork dumplings ($55) and piroskis ($15 each) never fail to satisfy even true Russians, while its vodka (up to $400 a bottle for Smirnoff) - which can be taken in the walk-in vodka freezer while wearing furry hats and coats - will raise spirits considerably. Throw caution to the wind with caviar and blinis - ($280 for 30g of Sevruga, up to $700 for 30g of Iranian Beluga). 2/F, Knutsford 10, Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui. Tel: 2312 6222. Open: 5pm-midnight