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2293. Zardoz, an unseen "God" who speaks through an idol, a large stone statue of a head, leads a barbaric race called the Brutals, who live a harsh existence in the Outlands. Zardoz tells the Brutals that once they die, they will be transported to the Vortex, where they will live happily as immortals. He has armed a small group, the Exterminators, with guns, as Zardoz's philosophy is that killing is good, and procreation is the root of all that is bad. In reality, Zardoz is Arthur Frayn, from a competing, more advanced race, called "the Eternals", who live in paradise in the Vortex. The Eternals truly are immortal as they do not age and their bodies undergo reconstruction if they "die". As such, they truly do not believe in procreation as their society has reached perfect equilibrium. Past human acts such as sex and sleep are obsolete in their advanced state. All major decisions are achieved through pure democracy. The Eternals, however, are not immune to non life threatening disease...Written by
DIRECTOR_CAMEO(John Boorman): The slave forced into farming, who Sir Sean Connery shoots. Boorman was shot with a blank, but wadding became embedded in his forehead, and took several days to come out. See more »
When the exterminators on horseback are killing the Brutals, tire tracks can be seen on the wet beach sand. See more »
I am Arthur Frayn, and I am Zardoz. I have lived three hundred years, and I long to die. But death is no longer possible. I am immortal. I present now my story, full of mystery and intrigue - rich in irony, and most satirical. It is set deep in a possible future, so none of these events have yet occurred, but they *may.* Be warned, lest you end as I. In this tale, I am a fake god by occupation - and a magician, by inclination. Merlin is *my* hero! I am the puppet master. I ...
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The pre-credits sequence featuring Arthur Frayn's disembodied head was added by director John Boorman after the movie was released, as an attempt to explain the plot to audiences that found it hard to understand. Boorman would later declare that the scene didn't work as he wanted it to.
The Spanish (Spain) released version cut part of the "boner" scene (the breasts-rugging and mud wrestlers on-screen). Later prints and current DVD and video releases are uncut.
In a distant future, after the end of society as we know it, humanity is divided. A small number, the Eternals who are now immortal, live within the Vortex while outside the Brutals live. Those in the Vortex still need food and the Brutals provide it; giving food to the floating stone head, which they believe is Zardoz, their god, which takes it to the Vortex. Zed is one such brutal but he learns the truth about Zardoz and sets about getting into the Vortex. Once there he learns that life for the Eternals is far from idyllic; they are bored and many yearn for death. Others see Zed as a threat to their existence and want him killed.
This is very much a film of the early seventies with its trippy visuals and general feel. The story itself is solid enough with its suggestion that eternal life would be more of a curse than a blessing. This depiction of immortality is well thought out with those who transgress being aged further but never dying and others being so apathetic that they barely move. Outside we see that the Brutals are far more 'alive' despite the violent way they are forced to live. I liked the way the invention of Zardoz is explained and how Zed learns the truth. On the downside the costumes are a bit of a distraction with Sean Connery's Zed wearing little more than a pair of red swimming trunks for most of the film and a distinctly hippyish look for the Eternals. The acting was okay although leads Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling have both done better. Overall I wouldn't say this is a must see unless you are a Connery completist or are a fan of somewhat camp sci-fi.
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