On the Silver Ball: This could have been one of the most innovative science fiction films in the history of cinema

“It was a cheap movie,” director Andrzej Zulawski recalls. “What could these costs be if the number of built decorations in this film was minimal, and we shot in a salt mine in Wieliczka, near the sea, in an abandoned industrial gasoline plant in Szczecin, on an empty beach where there were some cardboard pebbles.” Where's the money? ? We shot a lot of Mongolia in the Gobi Desert, because Mongolia owes the Polish People's Republic a lot of money for exports and imports – it bought everything in Poland and exported nothing to us,” says the creator. From the movie “On the Silver Globe,” which He refutes the prevailing theory that the reason for the interruption was that the shooting of the film was supposed to have a huge budget.

The film was an adaptation of Jerzy Żuławski's book, about the journey of a group of space explorers in search of freedom and happiness. The heroes land on an unknown planet and begin building a new civilization. Soon the explorers die and their descendants return to the primitive culture, inventing new myths and a new god… Years later, an expedition played by Andrej Seuwerin, Marek, appears on the planet. The descendants of the space explorers consider him their savior who will free them from the yoke of the winged monsters of Shirn.

“Compared to 'Pan Wołodyjowski', 'With Fire and Sword' or even 'The Teutonic Knights', the film was cheap. (…) 'On the Silver Globe' is a home-made film. There is not a single 'trick' or effect Special one, nothing that would cost a fortune. Everything was carved with a stick in the shit” – Żuławski leaves no doubt.

However, production of “On the Silver Globe” was abruptly halted in 1977 by the then Minister of Cinematography, Janusz Wilhelmi, who ordered “holes to be drilled and all the decorations thrown in there.” Żuławski himself was again forced to leave the country – a few years ago, the censorship did not provide him with another film called “The Devil”.

When Żuławski had the opportunity to finish the film in 1986, it turned out that the negatives from “On the Silver Globe” were scattered in the hallway of the Wrocław film studio. However, the director already knew that “it would never be the film I wanted.”

“I said to myself (…) that this is a film and a film about the drama of this film, that is, in a way about the drama of cinema in general, about the fact that practicing this profession can be tragedy and drama to the same degree of tragedy and drama. (…) So I thought: “Well, what does the reality in which all this happened look like? What does the street look like? What does a church look like? Żuławski added: “What do the places where we took these photos look like today? We will photograph them all,” no comment. “They were stuffed into the film trunks.”

The film was screened at a gala screening at the Gdynia Film Festival, and also opened at the Cannes Film Festival.

He added: “The festival presidents, guests and filmmakers came there in a great rush because there was an opinion that if this film had been completed at that time, it would have been a pioneer for the whole wave of films made by colleagues.” – From Kubrick [‘2010: Odyseja kosmiczna’] Without trying, following Tarkovsky [‘Solaris’] – They did. Therefore, this film has a special place in the history of cinema (…),” concluded Żuławski.

In 2021, Cuba Micorda spoke about the behind-the-scenes production of Żuławski's film in the documentary “Escape to the Silver Globe”.

“I love unfinished or unrealized movie stories. Nothing sparks my imagination more. What if, what if?” Cuba Micorda talked about the genesis of “Escape to the Silver Ball.”

“And that's the case with On the Silver Globe. People have written about it – 'the best sci-fi movie ever made', 'a devastating masterpiece', 'a communist Star Wars'. I was going to watch 'On the Silver Globe'.” More like a Midnight in New York movie from the late 1970s, somewhere between Alejandro Jodorowsky's “The Holy Mountain” and David Lynch's “Eraserhead.” And speaking of David Lynch – remember “Lost Highway”? Our movie follows the same path. It's a movie about escape “Escape from yourself, from lost love, from life in a communist country. A successful escape for a while, but it must end with a hard landing. You can't stay on another planet for 'too long.' Especially if it turns out to be your head,” Micorda concluded.

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