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ZARDOZ

UK, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: John Boorman

Zardoz is a bleak projection of twentieth-century western society into the twenty-third century. The film is set in the year 2293. and images a society that has developed from our technology. People are ranked into a new order. On top is an elitist group of failing aesthetes who enjoy eternal youth. They govern through a consensus among complacent intellectuals. Below this privileged group exist the law-breakers who are punished by being deprived of youth. They age to perpetual senility. Then there are the zombies, who lack any spiritual qualities; and lowest of all, sub-human remnants of the old human race. They till the soil outside paradise, watched by their overseers who are bred to the task. From (heir ranks comes Sean Connery to overthrow the new society and re-establish twentieth-century patterns.

Connery's behaviour defies the mechanistic system which created him for a particular task. Charlotte Rampling, one of the elite who would destroy him after he invades paradise, becomes a new Eve, and the drama follows out parallels with creation myths.

'The results: direction, good: script, a brilliant premise; and production, outstanding, particularly special visual effects which are among the best in recent years. . .'

Mosk, Variety

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