Power and Resistance: Andrzej Żuławski’s "On the Silver Globe"

  • MUBI
“There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.”—The Republic, Book IX 572bWhat’s the best way to describe the mania of an Andrzej Żuławski film? William Grimes, eulogizing Żuławski for The New York Times chose “emotionally savage.” J. Hoberman used “hyperkinetic,” “frenzied,” and “‘awful’ in its root sense of inspiring dread. Daniel Bird, writing about the most recent Lincoln Center screenings in New York, chose “deeply disturbing.” These descriptors make perfect sense after experiencing a Żuławski film, but I’ve never been able to sell his films to a newcomer this way. How could I? They’re much too primal for adjectives in our delicate English language, crafted to communicate Enlightenment-era ideas in a pleasing series of vibrations. The intensity of this director’s films could only be described in some sort of ancient Lovecraftian squelching,
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