Na srebrnym globie (1988)


(director/writer: Andrzej Zulawski; screenwriter: from the novel The Lunar Trilogy by Jerzy Zulawski; cinematographer: Andrzej Jaroszewicz; editor: Krzysztof Osiecki; music: Andrzej Koorzynski; cast: Andrzej Seweryn (Marek), Jerzy Trela (surviving spaceman- God), Krystyna Janda (Aza), Krzysztof Kolberger(Tomasz),Maria Pakulnis(Ihezal); Runtime: 157; MPAA Rating: NR; Polart; 1988-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles)

“Arthouse uniquely weird sci-fi film.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This arthouse uniquely weird sci-fi film is based on The Lunar Trilogy by Jerzy Zulawski (Andrzej’s great-uncle), which was published from 1901 to 1911. It’s directed with passion by Andrzej Zulawski (“Possession”/”The Public Woman”/”Boris Godounov“). The ill-fated production started in 1976, but got shut down by Polish government censorship in 1978 and much of the film was destroyed. It started up production again in 1986 with the fall of communism, as the self-exiled director returned from France and completed the film from the salvaged footage stored away by the film crew, adding a voiceover for the missing episodes and using replacement actors to dub the original actors who were no longer available. It was released in 1988, despite being in a mutilated form with restored scenes, sets and costumes. This strange symbolic pic (heavy usage of religious and political themes) seems overwrought, only in a semi-coherent state and too ambitious, but is strangely appealing and worth its weight in złotys as a scary cult film. The last part of the movie is shot in the Salt Mine Wieliczka, giving it an eerie haunted look of post-apocalyptic ruins. The film comes with a great reputation, but is probably the least seen of the controversial director’s films.

The labyrinthine plot has a group of intrepid space pioneers seeking freedom and forming a colony on the moon. When the adults die off, the children go primitive and begin their own myths, gods, and social stratus, as they practice shamanism and fire worship. The last of the adults, who refuses to die, is called the Old Man. The people find him both detestable and someone to revere. The Old Man retreats from civilization to the mountains. He places his video diary on a small rocket ship that heads for the Earth. The video and his notes are retrieved by a group of space researchers. Marek (Andrzej Seweryn), one of those scientists, visits the Old Man in his mountain retreat, but the native moon dwellers mistake him for the long-awaited arrival of the messiah, as prophesized long ago by their elders, and unrealistically look to him to deliver them from the feared winged mutants (shernes).