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OzLand (2014)

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OzLand is a movie starring Casey Heflin, Glenn Payne, and Dunlap Peeples IV. In a dry and dusty post-apocalyptic world, two wayfarers wander aimlessly until Leif finds a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Using the world around him to interpret what he reads, Leif ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Dee (voice)
... Emri
Dunlap Peeples IV ... Loi / FM
... Leif
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Storyline

In a dry and dusty post-apocalyptic world, two wayfarers wander aimlessly until Leif finds a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Using the world around him to interpret what he reads, Leif allows the book to challenge the beliefs, friendship, and even the very survival of these two divergent travelers. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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4 September 2014 (USA)  »

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$10,000 (estimated)
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1.78 : 1
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Indie budget triumph of symbolism and allegory for todays world ! ! !
15 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

First I must thank Director, writer, producer, editor, special effects, designer, etc.: Michael Williams, for this 'thinking persons' film! OZLAND is loaded with so much allegorical symbolism, and cryptic messages that true cinema buffs can discuss this plot line all night and for days afterwords.

The plot shows two men, Emri and Leif, walking westward in an unidentified setting at an undefined time. There are no other humans to be seen as they travel through the decaying remains of small towns, villages, and farms. Something devastating has occurred and Emri & Leif seem to be the only two humans around. We find out through their conversation that they were born into this post apocalyptic world and have no memory of civilization outside of what their parents have told them. How they met is also not explained.

The story opens with them walking and searching for water as the environment is very dry. Along their way Leif happens upon a copy of the famous Frank L. Baum's book 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. Leif can read, Emri has trouble reading. As they travel west Leif reads aloud and to himself. Leif, being the quixotic one, is very taken with this story and decides it must be true. Emri, being the realist, has serious doubts there is anything real about the story. During their journey they come upon items and imagery that could possibly attest to the reality of the very characters in the book! With each discovery Leif becomes more certain that 'OZLAND' exist while Emri holds on to his intuitive notion that its all a coincidence and OZLAND does not exist. Emri's doubting and questioning and Leif's belief in the existence of OZLAND eventually causes a fracture in their friendship.

What I find so symbolic and allegorical in this story is the believer and the non-believer! Leif takes the book, which here symbolizes the sacred text of every religion (here Christianity due to the crosses they come upon), and grasp upon it as fact and then finds items and images that he believes make the characters in OZ true therefore the story is true. Emri on the other hand has serious doubts there is any fact to the book but lacks the evidence to prove he's right. Leif has 'the book' and the imagery they have found to prove OZ is real but the items and imagery are only real proof because he believes they are proof. And isn't this the story of ourselves in todays world? The believers verses the nonbelievers.

There is a pivotal scene in the movie that deserves close attention. As they are walking down a road they notice something out in a field. They walk over to it and discover it is a cross with a crucified corpse still attached, now dried out and mummified. Attached to the cross, just above the head of the corpse, is the word 'TERRORIST' scratched into a wooden board. Lief ask Emri "what is terrorist"? Emri tells him terror is like being scared. Leif takes it as someone who scares others! To him this corpse must be the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Just what is the message here? To me it means that Jesus actually brought fear into the lives of others. He preached through faith you will be saved. We spend our lives seeking faith yet we cannot prove our faith will save us, there is no proof. Each and every person comes to the same end - death. Is there heaven? We will never know but we assume faith in Christian text makes heaven true. This is the dilemma Leif finds himself in. He so believes the OZ story this dried crucified corpse is proof enough that the scarecrow was real. Emri takes it for what it is - a dried out crucified corpse - nothing else.

There is a serious flaw in the story that relates directly to the cross in the field scene. Later in their journey they head for a place in which they are certain there will be other people. Upon reaching this destination they find three graves, each with a Christian cross. Leif and Emri have no knowledge of Christian belief as it is never referred to throughout the film. I am wondering just what is the message Michael Williams is relating here? For both Leif and Emri's only reference to a cross is to someone that brought fear into the lives of others.

At movies end Leif is given the opportunity to find his OZLAND. Emri begs him not to do what he wants to do. Leif convinces Emri he must for surely OZLAND is his home. Emri seeks shelter down into the darkness of the ground. Leif stays above ground. Eventually Emri emerges from the safety he sought to discover Leif has gone. Here again the symbolism is overwhelming. Emri rises from below, think grave, into the light to discover his only companion gone. We know he's dead and I believe Emri also knows this. But what does this say about Leif?


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