1 October, 3pm
ICA Cinema 1
12 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
On The Silver Globe, dir. Andrzej Żuławski, Poland 1988, 166 mins
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with DOP Andrzej Jaroszewicz
In 1976, a young director embarked on an epic space opera that told the story of one man destined to lead a rebellion against an evil alien empire – but this was not George Lucas. While Lucas was toiling away in the Sahara making Star Wars, Andrzej Zulawski, director of Possession, was battling to make his own science fiction epic in the Gobi desert. It is tempting to say that if Tarkovsky’s Solaris was the Soviet Union’s response to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, then Zulawski’s On the Silver Globe was the Eastern Bloc’s answer to Star Wars.
Zulawski’s epic is based on a trilogy of books written by his great uncle, Jerzy Zulawski, over a century ago. Featuring stunning locations in the Wieliczka salt mines and Poland’s Baltic coastline, the film features some of the most bizarre and startling imagery ever committed to celluloid: heretics impaled on spikes, a mass underground orgy and—years before Mad Max—a finned Cadillac screaming through the desert. On the Silver Globe could have placed Zulawski on the forefront of world cinema, but shortly before the end of filming the project was shut down by the Polish Communist authorities. Almost a decade later, Zulawski was invited back to Poland to complete his broken masterpiece.
Recently restored from the original camera negative, On the Silver Globe presents a terrifying science fiction vision worlds apart from Star Wars. [Text by Daniel Bird]