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Zardoz

Year: 1974
Production Co: John Boorman Productions
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: John Boorman
Producer: John Boorman
Writer: John Boorman
Cast: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling

The story goes that Sean Connery was having trouble finding work after leaving the James Bond franchise, and this script by John Boorman and the remote Ireland shoot convinced him it was the role to break him out of his typecasting.

It's the far future and a red-nappied warrior class travels the countryside on horseback with rifles killing the weak in a sort of mass ethnic cleansing. One of them is Zed (Connery). Their weapons are distributed by a God figure that flies around in a huge concrete head statue, issuing missives for them to live by and spewing out fresh guns and ammunition.

One day for reasons I either missed or that weren't made obvious, Zed stows away into the head and finds his way to a netherworld of immortals not unlike that of the Eloi from The Time Machine . The perpetually young, attractive and bored inhabitants are immortal, squabbling constantly over dinner parties on the meaning on everlasting life and distancing themselves from another race of decaying, ageing people who share their world but are locked away.

Zed becomes part slave, part henchman to the whims of the callow youth of the ruling class, and that's where the whole thing lost me. It's all allegory and no story, delivered through visuals only a production designer and director under the influence of hallucinogens could think up.

It appears to be a mash-up of everything from the sort of mindless faith Douglas Adams often parodied to idle hands doing the devil's work, and I defy anyone to know what's going on without having read a strong theory beforehand or watching it many times over.

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