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ZARDOZ

Director: JOHN BOORMAN

U.K. • 1973 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 105 MIN


MORE THAN ANY OTHER BRITISH DIRECTOR, JOHN BOORMAN HAS FAITHFULLY FOLLOWED HIS OWN PRECEPT. ALL HIS FILMS, SUCCESSFUL OR LESS SO, HAVE BEEN DEEPENED AND UNDERPINNED BY A PERVASIVE SENSE OF MYTH.
The cycle of Arthurian legends known in the Middle Ages as ‘The Matter of Britain’ has fascinated Boorman right from childhood. He tackled the subject head-on, of course, in Excalibur, but transmuted elements, half-echoes and reflections of the Arthurian myth crop up in films as seemingly different as Leo the Last, Deliverance and Zardoz. Boorman’s only excursion so far into science fiction, Zardoz is a typically offbeat vision of an ossified, class-ridden dystopia; he took his title from that classic depiction of a gleaming paradise that proves to be ramshackle and phoney, The Wizard of Oz. After some unspecified, possibly nuclear holocaust, humanity is divided in two: the Brutals till the polluted Outlands, policed by masked Exterminators, while the immortal but sexually flaccid Eternals live within the forcefield-protected Vortex. When Zed the Exterminator (a ponytailed Sean Connery) penetrates the enclave like a sperm into an ovum, his concentrated virility brings sex and death to the elite, shattering their power. The film starts more hares than it finally has the patience to chase, but it offers a visually riveting experience.—Philip Kemp.
Director John Boorman will introduce this film.
This event is presented by the Irish Film Archive, where John Boorman’s film collection is held.

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