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Author Topic: Zardoz  (Read 64287 times)
John Richardson
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« Reply #105 on: July 14, 2010, 05:28:02 PM »

Thanks for your response Andrew.
I take your point about other artistic efforts regarding technology-progress-power-evolution-nature-God.
The 'Dune' series centered upon the prospect of artificially accelerated evolution. Then there is 'Blade Runner' obviously.
Though I can certainly understand why someone could regard 'Zardoz' as absurd, perhaps you might see why some (a minority if not an elite:-) do see 'deeper meaning'.
I do think you let the Eternals off a little lightly. Though it's many years since I saw the film ; didn't the Eternals first create the Exterminators to eradicate the small but growing numbers of survivors ? Why would they do that ? The savages could never have threatened those inside the vortex. I recall they were being slaughtered on principle, in case they did increase in number, their utility for food production being a later happy coincidence. This confused & angered the Exterminators. Yep, when I think about it, it seems implicit the Eternals maintain a genocidal attitude to any outside their caste. Regarding them as animals......mind you...if you saw some of the people I have to work with sometimes...where's 'Zed' when you need him ?
Boorman drops loads of hints though...even the Egyptian headdresses are highly significant. The Eternal's crystal's placed in the 'third eye' pineal gland location...it's all there...

Regards.
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« Reply #106 on: July 15, 2010, 08:46:25 AM »

I do think you let the Eternals off a little lightly. Though it's many years since I saw the film ; didn't the Eternals first create the Exterminators to eradicate the small but growing numbers of survivors ? Why would they do that ? The savages could never have threatened those inside the vortex. I recall they were being slaughtered on principle, in case they did increase in number, their utility for food production being a later happy coincidence. This confused & angered the Exterminators. Yep, when I think about it, it seems implicit the Eternals maintain a genocidal attitude to any outside their caste. Regarding them as animals......mind you...if you saw some of the people I have to work with sometimes...where's 'Zed' when you need him ?

It appears that Arthur (with possibly Friend as a collaborator) created the whole Zardoz religion and instructed the exterminators to engage in genocide.  They never really give a reason why, besides Arthur's selective breeding program to produce a super human that can defeat the Tabernacle.  At the fountain, Arthur does claim credit for breeding and leading Zed.  It seems that everything Arthur inflicted on the people outside of the vortex is justified, in his mind, by the need to be free of eternal life. 

Otherwise, the rest of the Eternals seem to ignore the people suffering outside of the walls.

Thanks for your response Andrew.
I take your point about other artistic efforts regarding technology-progress-power-evolution-nature-God.
The 'Dune' series centered upon the prospect of artificially accelerated evolution. Then there is 'Blade Runner' obviously.
Though I can certainly understand why someone could regard 'Zardoz' as absurd, perhaps you might see why some (a minority if not an elite:-) do see 'deeper meaning'.

Part of it is the vehemence and air of superiority that is displayed by those who have told me I just don't "get it."  It's not a good way to perk my interest in discussion.  Another part is that I feel the main focus of the film is that people are not meant to live forever; we are not wired for endless days upon days, and doing so could stagnate our journey to what we will become.
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John Richardson
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« Reply #107 on: July 15, 2010, 10:15:54 AM »

The Eternals certainly do ignore the suffering outside the Vortex. They also ignore the suffering inside the Vortex; their parents & the apathetics. I seem to remember Friend being cruel about an ex-love as well.....Again, for me, they were devoted to the quest for perfection, personal and social. (A la Communism/Nazism. A true 'Master Race' on Earth, a perfect commune sharing everything including consciousness). If perfection is achieved, eternity would be only natural. This is why they hoarded all those art treasures and studied literature, mystic religions & human behaviour and stuff (as opposed to regenerating the lost world). The intrinsic evil that they are given over to is not explicitly spelt out in the film. Hence, for me, the film's subtle brilliance. It gradually dawns on the audience just what the Eternals have become. Who they really are. Though they are seemingly a perfect democracy & all equal; the truth is that they have arrived at a tyrannical and cruel terminus. I wish I could recall what the condemned Eternal says about his fellows, but he hated them deeply. We certainly are not told why the extermination programme was started. I think that we are to work that out ourselves. After all, Zed had to, and the name of the film itself is a riddle, a code. Interesting that Boorman (despite contemporary political concerns) did not use a post-atomic-war scenario. No radiation. No mushroom clouds. Instead, something else caused civilisation's downfall. I remember Zed being shown pages from a child's book. Slowly being educated and given the parts of a puzzle like a novice or detective. That is how I regard this film as intended to 'work'. If a person is interested in the eugenicist* angle, many of the themes will have a direct and frightening relevance. This, allied to the portentous Beethoven at the end, affords the film a dark grandeur. 

Not to hark on...but the French revolutionaries deliberately murdered 20% of their own population to create a perfect society, before they ran out of steam after killing too many fellow revolutionaries. We all know about the Nazis quest for perfection. The Russian & Chinese & Cambodian 'progressives' launched genocidal campaigns against their own people also. All in the quest for perfection here on Earth. They would all understand the Eternals in my view.
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judge death
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« Reply #108 on: July 25, 2010, 07:20:20 PM »

One point I need to make. People rag on the fact that in the beginning we see Arthur Frayne's talking, floating head with a goatee drawn on with a magic marker.

I think the point was that eternal males were no longer capable of growing facial hair, just like they could not get an erection.

True, the guy playing friend usually sported a 5 oclock shadow and some of the aged eternals had some facial growth, but by and large I think there was a subtle hint that eternal males no longer grew facial hair, and that was the message with frayn's magic marker goatee.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 06:02:30 PM by judge death » Logged
John Richardson
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« Reply #109 on: August 06, 2010, 04:13:15 PM »

The Rt. Honourable Judge Death is correct.
I regard everything about this film as being a part of the whole. In other words, the Director and actors knew the beard was false.
I suppose some might think...er...I'm not sure what they might think. However, if you imagine a total mistake/gaff has been committed ; you may need to take a second look.

In the end not all films are supposed to be immediatly accessible. It depends upon the subject matter. With politics & religion, it makes sense to cloak a message sometimes. Frustrating though that may be for some.   
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judge death
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« Reply #110 on: August 07, 2010, 12:46:18 AM »

Thanks, JR.

Frayne said that merlin was his hero, and merlin is usually portrayed as bearded, hence the magic marker goatee on his beardless face.
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ballyboy
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« Reply #111 on: January 09, 2011, 06:16:33 AM »

I just watched this movie on almost no sleep, in the middle of the night, with the sound off so as not to wake my fiance'. That had to be one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in my life. What, on God's green earth, was that? I am 56. I lived through the sixties and early seventies. I know what those times were like. But that was bizarre regardless of what period it came from. I wonder if Sean Connery looks back on that movie with embarassment: running around looking like a kind of sumo wrestler.

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HarlotBug3
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« Reply #112 on: February 01, 2011, 02:00:15 PM »

Wow, I can't believe there's an argument over this...that isn't going on, live, in front of a bunch of film and communication students, with the two on either side of the writer/director.

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« Reply #113 on: February 10, 2011, 05:04:22 PM »

“When I see the film now, I’m astonished at my hubris in making this extraordinary farrago.”  That's John Boorman from the DVD commentary, and it describes the movie perfectly.  It has a lot of serious ideas---about social engineering, immortality, religious fanaticism, sexual dynamics---but it can't stay focused on any single idea for move than a few minutes at a time.  It's a pretentious mess, but it is extraordinary and tons of fun. 
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« Reply #114 on: June 15, 2013, 03:06:00 AM »

I found this to be either one of the worst movies ever or one of the best. That's how confused I was the entire time. But I have another question that I'm sure has been asked before on the forum but i'm too lazy to look: If Zardoz says that "the penis is evil", why does Sean Connery say that he "took a woman" for Zardoz? Is this inconsistency supposed to exist so as to show the inconsistencies in religion, or did they just f**k up majorly while in the process of filling their exploitation flick rape quota?
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« Reply #115 on: June 15, 2013, 07:28:21 PM »

I saw this a while back... it's a stylish, pretentious mess.

I still can't get the image of Sean Connery in an orange Speedo out of my mind!!  Hatred.
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« Reply #116 on: June 15, 2013, 07:50:45 PM »

This movie is the perfect explanation as to why I call the Seventies "The Decade Without Taste".
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« Reply #117 on: July 11, 2013, 05:04:28 PM »

I actually liked this movie the first time I saw it many years ago (but I was young and didn't know any better).  I bought the DVD a few years ago and about 15 minutes into the movie I started asking myself, "What the hell am I watching?"

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