A small group of cosmic explorers leave Earth to find freedom and start a new civilization.
A small group of cosmic explorers leave Earth to find freedom and start a new civilization.
На серебряной планете, Le globe d'argent
A friend asked on Facebook who should be directing the Star Wars remakes, living or dead. Had I seen this film when he asked, I would have said Zulawski without hesitation. This is what a science fiction epic should look like, warts and all.
Forced by the Polish government to abandon filming while it was close to completion, Zulawski waited over ten years to complete this. Having reduced resources when he returned to it, the film fills the gaps with footage of some city (presumably in Poland or France) and Zulawski himself narrating what we are missing. These jarring transitions add to the found footage feel of the film in that they suggest someone on Earth is extrapolating what we…
Here is one planet dying and another planet beginning, the ambassadors of the former colonizing the landscape of the latter.
And so we begin the dawn of a new yet old civilization, astronauts who crash into nothingness and must create life out of nothing. They leave because their old one is stuck, in cycles of destruction where nothing changes. Humanity there sets itself back every time it takes a step forward, reaching the ceiling of human advancement. And so in the wake of their landing they must make anew, bringing with them the knowledge and culture of the old.
So time and time passes, the first generation slowly dying out until there is one old progenitor left and the new…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
[Originally written on my blog. Also, I see this is about to get a re-release in New York (July 29, 2016), and while I obviously hated it, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go see it for yourself. It's, uh, singular.]
Hoberman called this Zulawski's masterpiece, which just confirms my suspicion that crackpot sci-fi bullshit gives him a knee-jerk hard-on (cf. Southland Tales). It's all but unwatchable, far as I'm concerned—bad actors wandering barren landscapes in ridiculous costumes, gesticulating wildly for no reason. It's as if the shittiest Planet of the Apes sequel from the '70s fucked the Zion sequences from The Matrix Retarded and gave birth to some mutant population of nonsense-spouting quasi-primitive cretins. On top of which, the…
On the Silver Globe is a beautiful mess like nothing I have ever seen before, and a film most of you have probably never heard of. On the Silver Globe tells the story of a group of astronauts who leave Earth in order to find freedom. Eventually the begin a new civilization which leads to a lot of crazy cult-like shit that I don't want to spoil.
None of the flaws are really Żuławski's fault. The film is incomplete due to it being seized originally by the Polish Communist party(although Żuławski does a voiceover to fill in the story gaps), the translation is quite poor, and as far as I know, there is no decent quality version of this film…
"Are we the last of those who retain power, or the first of those who are defenseless?" -Someone,
This was worth the extra decade it took to make.
Prepare to have your mind blown by a film that transcends genre and the bounds of what I thought film could do. On the Silver Globe is a science fiction horror that is kind of found footage... but if the words found footage freak you out rest assured this is no boring shaky cam jumpscare film... this is the real shit. The film looks really messy at times but overall I would say this contributes to what I would describe as dream-like chaos aesthetic. The story is a great sociological quest through themes of inequality, religion, and power and the sci-fi elements of the story really popped for me. The final act is a tour de force which will stick with me for weeks to come.
Seems to contain the seeds of every art sci-fi film made sense. A strange, erotic, hilarious saga seen through a fish-eye that renders its slipshod narrative even more abstract. A film that reconfigures itself from shot to shot, and often within the same image.
History of a World, Part I
What if God Was One of Us?
If I had turned off the subtitles, this is a five star movie. As I get older I have less and less patience for dialogue that reduces characters to ciphers or mouthpieces that spout philosophical or political ideals. In this case it's more shout than spout, as Zulawski's weightless camera spins and rushes up to wall-eyed close-ups of bug-eyed crazies who flop and flail about as they verbally vomit every bit of existential anxiety they feel. It's as nagging and grating as being in a neurotic's head (I should know, I am one!). Nobody films anxiety quiet like Zulawksi.
Now THIS is science fiction
For every derivative Michael Bayish-blockbuster, for every Christopher Nolan-like faux-intelligent drama, there has to be a transcendent piece of cinema that completely reshapes our ideas of science fiction as a whole and it's portrayal on the screen. We've all seen films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stalker and Under the Skin and I can say without hesitation that On the Silver Globe should be added to this list.
The story can be separated into three different parts with all of them (probably) spanning hundreds if not thousands of years. The first part shows a small group of astronauts who have escaped earth to find freedom and create a new civilization on a distant planet. We…
something truly otherwordly, some surreal phantasmagoria is buried here under an exhausting harangue of existential noise, like a garbled psychic transmission auto-translated repeatedly until it degrades into an illegible and hyper anxious affectual texture. the grating maximalism obscures a much more compelling alien world whose atmosphere and culture we never get to fully experience.
there really is something that deeply compels me about the vision of this alien planet and the way it unfolds in time. stretches of coastline, evocative costuming, the city of the psychic birds. these are genuinely meaningful and powerful to me. it just seems like the film is somewhat at odds with itself. the self-importance and theatricality of its constantly screamed, impenetrable monologue overwhelms everything else.…
Are we the last of those who retain power, or the first of those who are defenceless?
I'll start with some backstory about this film. On the Silver Globe was almost completed when a Polish politician —Willhemi— ordered to destroy all the negatives of this film. Apparently, Willhemi opposed artistic freedom and tried to compel the ideology of his party, communism and agrarianism, to the Polish people.
At the end, the negatives weren't destroyed, but the proyect was shut down. As a result of this, On the Silver Globe was left unfinished.
During the scenes of the film that could not be filmed landscapes or scenes from everyday life are shown while a continuation of the story is narrated by…
“You are an animal and yourself.... Is it only the animal in you that is alive? What about that which lives thanks to the animal?”
The most important thing to note about Zuławski’s “murdered masterpiece” is that it is very much an incomplete film. The gaps left in its narrative can’t be ignored and yet, even in its most incomplete state, this was one of the most transcendent movie watching experiences I have ever had (and yes I know that sounds dramatic).
Much like the discombobulated astronauts at the center of its story, On The Silver Globe is something any audience will need some time to adjust to in the beginning (with some dizzying camerawork that makes a probable cause…
A very very different take on a ‘found footage’ kind of film and I appreciate a lot of what it’s doing here. The way that it’s filmed is one of the strongest elements of it because as a viewer, you feel sort of invasive and more of an active participant in the story, which can feel unsettling. It feels like it’s being filmed in someone’s backyard, which I think makes it more effective.
I also really liked with the aesthetics of this. It’s chaotic, weird and kind of dreamy but it still feels like something that could be real. Like a believable other world. I think something about the pacing and storytelling made this difficult to follow, which keeps me from loving it. But it’s an enjoyable watch if you just vibe with the screaming.
i had literally no idea what was going on. there were 3 hours of screaming about god, the dangers of the seductive satanic attraction of fascist birds and then someone got runover by a polish batmobile? what the fuck dude?
Aesthetically groundbreaking, great sets, great costumes, great world building. Very imaginative and artistically novel. This is an unfinished project due to the Polish government’s destruction of selected scenes. I was not ready for “random interspersed segments of man reading the screenplay atop footage of 1960’s Poland.”
Maybe its old style and uneven tone also added to its esotericism. It was hard to understand, and other times stupid. The acting wasn’t great, it was over the top, and the same for the dialogue, constantly a man yelling the director’s philosophies in long-winded unintelligible monologues. Maybe sometimes you catch pieces, sometimes you pick up on a good take in the scattered mess of rambling.
It’s a huge mess. But it’s a beautiful…
Visually interesting and conceptually daring, but the incessant shouting and flailing about takes its toll on both the contents of the film and my attention as a viewer after a while. Guess I prefer my Eastern Bloc existential art films more on the calm/collected side of the spectrum - I find myself longing for Tarkovskyan pillow shots of rustling leaves inbetween the hysterics.
Watched in two parts and will still probably want to revisit this movie at some point in the future after exploring more of Zulawski's work as well as his contemporaries, and maybe even reading this book if I'm being honest. A lot going on here, overall a pretty great viewing experience though.
I'll start with what I liked about it. The visuals were incredibly impressive, the high concept nature of this was beautifully put on film with some motifs reminiscent of Westerns and other sci-fi's that utilize grandiose locations and vistas. Loved the costumes and the world building in general was just super enthralling. I liked the psychedelic music playing during the "lsd trip" scenes in the third act, and…
One of if not the most visually striking films I’ve ever seen. The costume and set design are incomparable; nothing so original in tone and aesthetics has been put on the screen. The cinematography anticipates Libezki’s near-to-the-ground, careening style by decades. It anticipates the found footage genre. It anticipates dystopian and post-apocalyptic obsessions of the late 20th and 21st century. It anticipates much of what came after it, yet never does it feel like you’re watching the origin of a cliché. A work like this is unreplicable.
I wish I could give On The Silver Globe a perfect rating, but there are absolutely glaring issues that are so endemic, so distracting that they depreciate the whole experience. The first and…
An incredible achievement of filmmaking. Some of the best art direction I've seen and some truly breathtaking camera work. The costumes are just magnificent. There's some crane shots that blew my mind. The documentary/pov approach for the first chunk of the film is amazing.
I am both confused and fascinated by much of the plot and dialogue, but nevertheless enthralled by it. At almost 3 hours, it still didn't feel long enough. It could have gone on, carrying me with it to any destination Żuławski felt necessary to take us.
A wonderful blend of religion, philosophy, sci-fi, medieval fantasy, and horror, it's tale of journeying across the stars only to find ourselves trapped in a similar historical cycle is as beautiful as it is haunting.
When the Gods are looking for meaning
This has so much potential it feels like a tarkovsky film at times but it just feels so raw like it had so many thoughts and feelings but he just couldn't transform them to me in a way that feels artistic enough
Criterion release when?
Me dejó las ganas de saber que hubiese pasado si a Zulawski se le hubiese ocurrido hacer Dune alguna vez.
The version I watched had pretty rough subtitles, so that is contributing to my score quite a bit. It is a beautifully fascinating film but I also would very much like to know what it's saying.