Search - On the Silver Globe on DVD

On the Silver Globe
On the Silver Globe
Actors: Leszek Dlugosz, Jerzy Gralek, Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Seweryn, Jerzy Trela
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2007     2hr 37min

Studio: Facets Multimedia Release Date: 08/28/2007


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Movie Details

Actors: Leszek Dlugosz, Jerzy Gralek, Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Seweryn, Jerzy Trela
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Futuristic, Space Adventure
Studio: Polart
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1987
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1987
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 37min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Polish
Subtitles: English

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Director: Andrzej Zulawski
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Movie Reviews

Another masterpiece by Zulawski distributed illegally by POL
diabel | USA | 08/05/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"This is one the most haunting arthouse films ever made. Unfortunately it is getting released as a bootleg DVD by Polart - The DVD is Fullscreen (regular PAL-NTSC transfer from the Polish DVD presented in cropped Fullscreen) Zulawski's intended aspect ratio is 1.66:1.

Keep your $30 and wait for a legitimate company to pick up this film for proper distribution.

A remarkable science fiction epic by Andrzej Zulawski
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 01/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On the Silver Globe (Na Srebrnym Globie) is a remarkable science fiction epic by Andrzej Zulawski. The movie begins with primitives trading a recording device to astronauts. The tapes chronicle the history of four earlier astronauts that crashed and began a civilization on the planet they are on. A man is wounded from the crash and dies shortly later. The rest, two men and a woman, explore this world and have a lot of children. In a few decades there are now hundreds of people with their own culture. The children consider the last surviving male astronaut an all-knowing god. The new astronauts enter this strange culture with a cult-like religion that considers them gods.

On the Silver Globe got into trouble with communist censors who halted its production. Parts of the movie were unfinished so they are filled in with the director telling us what should have been there while we see filler footage of landscapes or city scenes. It is unfortunate that Zulawski wasn't able to finish it as he intended but we are fortunate enough it wasn't completely lost (about 1/5 of the film is missing). Why the censor halted production is unknown as there really isn't anything political in the film (although a reoccurring philosophical theme concerns if we are more than just animals, that is to say, if we are a soul in a body).

I would give On the Silver Globe high grades for being original. The film is based on the Lunar Trilogy books written by the director's granduncle Jerzy Zulawski in the early 1900s. Although aspects of this movie can be compared to others, its innovativeness is impressive. The bizarre world we see in On the Silver Globe is like seeing another culture that is foreign to us.

I haven't seen too many of Andrzej Zulawski's films but the one's I did left me with a great impression of his ability; he is a brilliant director. I only wish he had more Polish films (he has more in French than in Polish). Besides Zulawski fans, those that enjoy serious science fiction and Polish films buffs may enjoy this movie (as science fiction is a relatievly rare genra in Polish cinema). I would defiantly call On the Silver Globe an art film so those who appreciate this type of cinema should also check it out.
Bizarre religious/political/allegorical science fiction epic
Muzzlehatch | the walls of Gormenghast | 03/22/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is one crazy piece of work. I think it will help going into ON THE SILVER GLOBE to know a little bit of the background of the film - if you want to make sense of it, that is, which frankly may not be all that useful. But in any case, the film itself gives you a bit of the background and more can easily be found: director Andrzej Zulawski had left Poland in 1972 to escape censorship under the Communist regime, but a few years later during a period of openness he was invited back and allowed to make a project of his own choice with a relatively unlimited budget. He chose to film an adaptation of his great-uncle Jerzy's "Lunar Trilogy", originally written around 1900, an epic science fiction story about the colonizing of another planet over generations. The adaptation and filming took up much of 1975 through 1977 but it was stopped by the government - mostly because of alleged subversive political analogies in the film which I didn't really get, and I suspect most others won't unless they really know Polish history - the film abandoned and ordered destroyed. Zulawski returned to France in despair where he has mostly lived since, but the film in fact wasn't destroyed and in 1988 a version was pieced together and shown at Cannes. This video version came later, with Zulawski narrating to help fill in the narrative gaps, but it's still incomplete and fragmentary in some respects. So going into it, there's no way to avoid knowing that what you're seeing isn't a finished product - and never will be.

And this wouldn't necessarily be a problem, if it weren't for the fact that the film treads, sometimes uneasily, a path between a completely elliptical and surreal narrative and a more conventional structure - and if the dialogue weren't almost wholly made up of quite artificial and deliberate philosophizing that rarely conveys any sense of real characters or the actual "story" that's being told. In other words, this is self-consciously an "art film" and there is a complex and often abstract relationship between words and image that is really disrupted by the narrative ellisions - both the deliberate ones and those caused by the incomplete nature of the piece - all of which combine to make it a very difficult, often fairly boring and even ridiculous, yet cinematically beautiful experience.

Zulawski uses mostly wide-angle lenses (if you've seen much of Terry Gilliam's work, you'll have an idea of the look) throughout the film, and in the beginning there's significant use of hand-held camera as well. The colors are all very washed out - it's all blues and grays - and it's mostly shot on gray beaches and in rather lonely-appearing rural landscapes. Beautiful in its own way and it certainly adds to the sense of "otherworldliness"; the film doesn't look like much else that I've seen. I should also mention here Andrzej Korzynski's great music, which operates on a range from neoclassical, to romantic, to electronic-modern to jazz-funk; it's quite remarkable. The story, insofar as it really matters, does concern astronauts landing on another planet and trying to make a go of things. It's rather confusing as to why they are there, and what is going on at home on Earth, but eventually most of the astronauts die and just a handful are left to start a new world. They end up being fruitful and multiplying - you will also know going into the film that there is going to be a strong Christian element, which should be apparent from the boxcover to this Polart release, or the original Polish poster art which shows the head of a man with a crown of thorns.

So the new Adam (or Adams, as there are initially two male survivors) and Eve spawn a new society, which becomes a primitive tribe that seems visually based for the most part on Polynesian natives; the astronauts' aging is retarded on this new planet and they grow old very slowly, watching as the generations pile up. Eventually one is left, The Old Man, considered both a god and a devil at the same time; he grows weary and longs to return to Earth but cannot, so he sends a video diary (much of which we the audience have been watching) back, and a young astronaut travels to the planet and eventually becomes a part of the society and gets involved in a war between two offshoots of the human race that have evolved, eventually being sacrificed for the sake of his people.

All of this probably makes the film sound a little easier to digest than it is, but there are all kinds of asides showing scenes on Earth that don't always make a lot of sense in the context of the rest of the film, and the dialogue is for the most part couched in obscurity and/or pretentious philosophizing. A couple of samples:

'I....I didn't know that a love so great can exist' - spoken just after two of the lead characters have had sex in a cave (after one was supposed to kille the other) and just before a battle.

'As in a lukewarm river, I get to know indifference.'

Nearly all of the dialogue is like this. Oftentimes the characters just speak these statements staring off into space and they have nothing to do with anything happening onscreen. At times I was reminded of Jean-Luc Godard in ALPHAVILLE mode, at other times of the spiritual musings of Andrei Tarkovsky, who had himself adapted a Polish science fiction novel, Lem's "Solaris"; though I don't think Zulawski's purposes are similar to either of them.

On the whole I just don't know what to make of the thing. It's fascinating but much of it is rather tedious as well, and at almost 3 hours it's not for the easily bored. I think that given the paucity of truly thought-provoking and "intellectual" science fiction, it's well worth a look for fans of the genre, particularly those who've read a lot in the more literary/philosophical end of the field, but I'm still not sure that I got anything out of it beyond vague wisps of ideas that mostly dissipated the moment the film was over. Then again, some images remain with me now, a week after I watched it as I finish working out this review, and I do look forward to watching it again sometime, and seeing what else this provocative filmmaker has done.

One note on this DVD transfer: an earlier review lambastes this release for being full-frame but in fact it is not, though it's not quite 1.66:1 either. The particular copy I have is letterboxed at approximately 1.5:1. Not perfect perhaps, but given the obscurity of the film, we're not likely to get anything better anytime soon."