Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Essential Cinema - 21




ZARDOZ

ACTORS
Sean Connery
Charlotte Rampling
Sara Kestelman
John Alderton
Sally Anne Newton
Niall Buggy

DIRECTOR
John Boorman

SCREENPLAY
John Boorman

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Geoffrey Unsworth




SYNOPSIS:
In a surreal futuristic world, man has reached immortality and plays god with the remaining humans that live outside their master colony. When a mortal invades their world, he shatters their perfect society and releases them from their idyllic purgatory.





CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER:
The societal science fiction story, without spaceships and ray-guns. Here the concept of genetics and science are twisted to form a society that is segregated, manipulative, immortal and bored. As with any concept of the perfect society, perfection is only an ideal, not a reality. The perfect society here is shattered from within by the introduction of the barbaric man.





PROS AND CONS:
This is 1960s science fiction with the emphasis on the human and sexual nature of mankind. The film is innovative in some ways and over-reaching in others. The plot is somewhat meandering and very hard to understand in places. There are scenes, that while interesting to watch, appear to make little sense in the overall story line.





In the end, the masters being overthrown by their flock takes a long time to get to. Since this was filmed in the 1960s, there is a lot of gratuitous nudity that suites the surreal quality of the film as well as the dream-like imagery.





Sean Connery may have accepted this role to distance himself from his James Bond image. John Boorman has always been a bit of an odd film maker and while his films are mostly good (I loved "The Emerald Forest"), they sometimes miss the mark of being really great.