Polish filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski is probably best known for his anguished-hysterical-looney-monster-movie Possession, which starred Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani as a married couple who spend most of their time screaming at each other in different rooms. His films are aggressive shrieks of madness, doomed love, trance-state convulsions, shrieking emotional upheavals and all out bonkers visual images. All the greats. There’s this octopus creature thing that materializes halfway through Possession that transports a (fairly) naturalistic, if explosive, kitchen-sink drama into the realm of magical realism with a bit of tentacled monster shagging thrown in for good measure. Nice.
In a career that was plagued with financial restrictions and bans from the Polish Ministry of Culture for being too racy. It’s amazing a film like his would-be cinematic opus Na Srebrnym Globie (On the Silver Globe) ever even got the green light in the first place. Still, though unfinished it remains a "broken thing" since his financiers not only shut down his movie in the middle of principal photography, but also destroyed his remaining costumes and sets. The bastards.
Based on a series of science fiction novels written by his great-uncle Jerzy Zulawski entitled The Moon Trilogy (which in terms of philosophical heft rivals Stanislaw Lem and resembles the epic scope of Frank Herbert's Dune books), this might have been a sacrilegious masterpiece about a colonized land where men create new gods in order to have something to believe in. But the film was never finished, and it wasn't until the mid-1980s that Zulawski was able to shoot some additional material and piece together the raw footage into a semi-coherent state.
If you’re able to endure nearly two-and-a-half hours of patched-together incredibly difficult to follow footage then you’ll be rewarded with some incredible scenes – but I should warn you; Zulawski throws in unrelated images of sunsets, cityscapes, and roving shots drifting up and down escalators with his own voiceover giving summaries of the scenes or sequences he was never able to film.
I’ll be honest even with subtitles, Na Srebrnym Globie is bloody hard going at times with its large cast of characters, bizarre interplanetary rituals, and extended trance sequences where characters degenerate into insanity. But, still – it looks good.