In 1975, after the international success of his partner Romy Schneider’s “That Most Important Thing: Love”, Helmer Andrzej Schnawski returned to Poland. The sci-fi epic “On the Silver Globe” had the biggest spectacle in its history. Based on the “Moon Trilogy” by his great-grandfather Jerzy, he saw a group of astronauts leave Earth to collide with another planet. Years later, another astronaut arrived and greeted him like God. The project was suspended in 1977 by a decision of Deputy Culture Minister Janusz Wilhelmy.
“Escape to the Silver Globe,” says director Cuba Mikorda, who is now exploring his tragic roots in “Escape to the Silver Globe,” which made its world premiere at Millennium Docs Against Gravity and was produced by Daria Malona and Stanislav Zaborovsky of Silver Frame.
“Everyone had a theory. Some said he was very subversive, others blamed him for his religious content. To me, it was a show of force for the new minister. He knew that if this movie happened, everyone would notice. Interestingly enough, there are those who claim that Żuławski breathed because of him.”
Żuławski, who died in 2016, returned to the film in 1987. Instead of finishing it, he added scenes that summarize what was never filmed.
“This solution sounds nice to me. It’s a showcase for a movie that would have been had the director acted as a mentor,” says Mikorda, adding that if it had been completed on time, “On the Silver Globe” might join the ranks of Stalker. Andrei Tarkovsky or “Solaris”.
Most likely, it will not be the box office success that the authorities had hoped for. It won’t be Star Wars. But when you watch him today, it’s hard to believe he didn’t influence Ridley Scott when he was making “Alien” or George Miller when he was making “Mad Max.” This is one of the first science fiction films where the future has a past. Everything is exhausted and damaged.”
Mikurda says that Żuławski referred to Kubrick in the film. He also shared his reputation for difficulty in cooperating, which brought his crew to a point of no return.
“It can be compared to what happened on the set of Apocalypse Now. They created their only world, ready to do anything for their leader, and life on the set began to imitate the movie.”
The crew was happy to share a few secrets, from Żuławski’s decision to “borrow” his arm from medical school to convincingly demonstrate the main character’s cross in his fury with a devastating shot that was broken because one of the actors was already on fire.
“He was grumpy—the guy was smoking sweetly. His crew had gone from falling in love with this project to being a weird place to going to extremes. It still lives on in their minds. Someone told me that after the movie, there was nothing interesting anymore,” he says.
Mikurda, who in his previous documentary Love Express spoke about another terrifying Polish kid. This time around, Walrian Borowczyk’s The Disappearance decided to take a more personal path, including interviews with Żuławski’s son Xavery and an analysis of the consequences of his divorce from actress Małgorzata Braunek. A Breakup also inspired his next movie “Possession” starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani.
“He kept going back to that relationship, or later to that relationship with Sophie Marceau. At the Silver Globe, he showed an important moment in his career, when some things were settled once and for all. After that, nothing was the same.
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