“Żuławski’s masterpiece.” —J. Hoberman, The New York Times

A new digital restoration of the late Andrzej Żuławski’s controversial sci-fi epic makes its North American theatrical premiere in an exclusive weeklong theatrical engagement here at the Film Society, July 29 – August 4.

In 1988, after a 16-year absence, Andrzej Żuławski returned to Polish cinema with On the Silver Globe (Na srebrnym globie), which proved to be the most ambitious and difficult project of his career. The largest Polish production of all time when shooting began in 1976, it was halted by the Ministry of Culture for two years due to its alleged subversiveness, before finally being reconstituted and completed after the fall of communism over a decade later. This very rarely screened film now returns in a new digital restoration—personally approved by Żuławski prior to his passing earlier this year, and by DP Andrzej Jaroszewicz—courtesy of the Polish Film Institute.

The sci-fi epic follows a group of astronauts who, after crash-landing on the moon, forge a new society. As the first generation dies off, their children devise new rituals and mythologies to structure the emergent civilization, until a politician from Earth arrives and is hailed as the Messiah… An inexhaustibly inventive and absorbing film maudit that quite literally creates a new cinematic world, On the Silver Globe is perhaps the grandest expression of Żuławski’s visionary artistry.

Earlier this year, On the Silver Globe played to a packed house at the Walter Reade Theater as part of a Żuławski sidebar in our annual Film Comment Selects series. In a piece for Film Comment timed to the screenings, scholar Daniel Bird called the film “decades ahead of its time.”

1988 | 166m | Polish with English subtitles | Color | DCP
A Film Studio KADR release | Restoration courtesy Polish Film Institute