So sorry we don’t have Zardoz (1974) on DVD…

… because it looks amazing. A film Roger Ebert described as an “exercise in self-indulgence” on the part of director, John Boorman, who, following the success of the unforgettable Deliverance (1972) – one of the greatest films of the 70s, could basically do whatever he liked.  And this is what that ‘whatever’ looks like (and why not? we ask):

1524628_10153867148915487_480391146_nStraight away alarm bells are ringing and about a half-dozen reasons why perhaps not spring to mind. There’s so much going on here I don’t even know where to begin… A look only the bravest should cultivate. Bound to raise a few eyebrows down at your local Weatherspoons. And, was this the inspiration for Sacha Baron-Cohen’s eye-watering Borat outfit, I wonder?

SNN11BORAT-280_612344aBut let us press on…

STARRING:    

28704581SEAN CONNERY

Zardoz.avi_snapshot_00.50.49_%5B2011.06.20_21.13.57%5DCHARLOTTE RAMPLING

Zardoz+LadyDIRECTED BY:

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JOHN BOORMAN

On a post-apocalyptic Earth, the population is divided between the ‘Eternals’ – an immortal elite who lounge about on their country estate called ‘The Vortex’ – and the mortal ‘Brutals’ who are basically a slave race, existing in a wasteland and supplying the Eternals with food (post-apocalyptic? Sounds like London now). Zardoz, a giant flying stone head rules over the ‘Brutal Exterminators’ whose job is to liaise between the two races and collect the food from the Brutals (in our London analogy, Zardoz would presumably be Boris Johnson – a giant floppy, blonde head flying about, barking – though the flying stone head of Zardoz seems somehow more serious and believable). Sean Connery, playing one such Exterminator gets himself in a bind (not surprising given his fancy suspenders) and finds himself captured by the Eternals, experimented upon (again, perhaps not surprising) before finally escaping and destroying The Vortex along with most of the Eternals (at this point, I shall discontinue the London analogy..)

Interestingly, Ebert compares the film to Alain Resnais’ Last Year in Marienbad (1961), but only in as much as both films are likely to leave your brain in a fog of bemusement. It has been described as THE place where genius and madness actually meet and many have wondered how a film with this plot – not to mention these costume designs – actually made it from conception all the way to the big screens, but I have it on good authority from two of my Video City colleagues that Zardoz is indeed as AMAZING as it looks – especially as it looks as though it were made on a budget of about £15 – and so, I repeat, so sorry we don’t have it on DVD…

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Ben Wheatly (director of Sightseers, Kill List, A Field in England) discusses Zardoz in the Telegraph, and The Den of Geek celebrates Zardoz’s strangest moments.

Posted by Dixie Turner

 

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