A work of makeshift grandiosity as well as of genuine folly, Andrzej Zulawski’s On the Silver Globe was born in a turmoil mirrored by its chopped narrative. Started in 1976 as an epic adaptation of a turn-of-a-century philosophical sci-fi trilogy by the director’s great uncle, the production was then abruptly stopped by the communist ministry of culture in 1977. Officially too expensive to continue, the movie was in fact too politically incorrect to handle.
It wasn’t till 1987 that Andrzej Zulawski was allowed to tinker with the incomplete footage and assemble it into what it currently is: “a stump of a movie,” per his off-screen opening remark. In the meantime, pieces of costumes and set designs were clandestinely preserved in private apartments by the film’s heroic crew, with the original negative miraculously ignored—and thus rescued—in a pile of cans standing next to a film archive’s hallway radiator.