A small group of cosmic explorers, including a woman, leaves Earth to find freedom and start a new civilization. They do not realize that within themselves they carry the end of their own dream. They eventually die one by one, while their children revert to a primitive native culture, creating new myths and a new god. Some time later, a space bureaucrat running from a broken heart, arrives and finds colonizer’s descendants enslaved by birdmonstern called Cherns. Society is divided into a numerous classes, and everyone is waiting for the arrival of a messiah. The newcomer is considered a suitable candidate and for some time he lives as a god. In the end he is crucified by his people. —Polish Cinema Database
Andrzej Zulawski was born on the territory of what was then the U.S.S.R. in a Polish family with remarkable traditions in arts and literature. After World War II, his father’s diplomatic career brought the family to France (1945-1949), Czechoslovakia (1949-1952), and finally to Poland. He studied film direction at IDHEC in Paris (1957-1959) and philosophy at both Warsaw University (1961) and Université de Paris (1962-1964).
First, he assisted the famous Polish director Andrzej Wajda during the filming of Samson (1961), Popioly (1966), and the Warsaw episode of L’Amour à Vingt Ans (1962). In 1967, Zulawski directed two short films, Piesn Triumfujacej Milosci and Pavoncello, for Polish TV.
His feature debut, Trzecia Czesc Nocy (1971), as well as those previous films were co-scripted by his father, poet Miroslaw Zulawski. The picture was well received at the Venice Film Festival and awarded as the Best Debut in its homeland, but had only limited release due to Polish censorship… read more
Boundless, gargantuan, otherworldly, cerebral, visceral; a work that goes far beyond what would be defined as "ambitious". This is a breathtakingly colossal landmark in artistic invention, ambition and cinematic realisation. A film which can be called a bona-fide masterpiece, with complete and earnest conviction. What an experience.
A discussion with director for his first US retrospective.