A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Zardoz

March 30,2010

Zardoz

Zardoz is a movie which sticks with you.  It’s full of imagery which gets lodged in your brain and lingers there for years to come.  For better or for worse.  Do you want to have pictures in your mind of Sean Connery in his red loincloth and bandoleer?  Do you want to close your eyes and see a giant floating head that spits our guns and ammunition?  How about rows of vacuum packed naked people?  And that’s just in the first ten minutes!

I love the strange and experimental sci-fi films of the sixties and seventies.  From the days before Star Wars and the birth of the homogenized pasteurized blockbuster action flick.  There was a time – a beautiful and chaotic time – when science fiction was untamed and bizarre.  Think of movies like this one and Silent Running and Logan’s Run and 2001.  Even the Planet of the Apes movies had a dark underside about apocalypse and inevitable doom.

Zardoz tells a story about a strange dystopian future.  In this future there are “brutals” that live in a strange wasteland.  Their population is kept in check by exterminators – a group of men given guns by the god-head Zardoz.  Zardoz is a created god.  Created by a group of immortals who live in an ideal society inside a protected vortex.  But this Eden has become stagnant.  The immortals are splitting into factions.  Some are renegades, cast out from polite society and forced to age into senility, but never allowed to die.  Others have become despondent, unable or unwilling to take any action any longer they have descended into a stupor.

Oh, and for some reason they don’t have bras in Eden.

One of the exterminators is Zed, played by Sean Connery, who kills Arthur, the immortal who created Zardoz and rides the stone head into the vortex.  At first it seems that he is just an ignorant brutal savage invading paradise, but there is more going on.  Zed, it turns out, is more than just a savage.  Arthur, given immortality, has been doing more than just quelling the brutality of the outlands.

As with yesterday’s movie there’s a lot of strangeness and nonsense in this movie.  And a lot of unnecessary gratuitous nudity.  But here it’s in service of an unsettling portrayal of this weird dystopia.

And the whole thing comes to a psychedelic and symbolic climax much in the way that 2001 does.  It reminds me a lot of The Prisoner at times in its strangeness.  Indeed if you think of Zed as Number 6 then it would actually make quite a good episode of the Prisoner.  You feel like you should understand what’s going on at times but you can’t quite.

I really like this movie.  For what it represents more than for what it is.  My one complaint would be that I’m often distracted by all the breasts.  But maybe that’s more a flaw in me than in the movie.

March 30, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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