Magic and Imagery #8

Now with comments, just to make Cliff happy . . .

I bred you, I led you.

And I have looked in the face of the force that put the idea in your head. You were bred and led yourself.

John Boorman’s Cult of the Future

John Boorman, the man who directed “Deliverance” which included a scene of male rape, has made another controversial film. It is called “Zardoz” and is set in a “technological commune” in the 23rd century by which time an intellectual elite is ruling the earth.

To control the masses, the elite foster a new religion embodied in the god Zardoz, a huge stone head that flies by means of gravitational power. It brings terror to the ignorant masses in a world dying from pollution and lack of resources, commands their obedience and is used, according to Boorman, “as a means of repression and exploitation.”

Boorman made his film in the summer of ’73 in the devoutly Catholic Irish Republic with the sanction of the Irish authorities. He denies it is an attack on the Catholic Church or that it is irreligious.

“I am not a Catholic but I was brought up by Jesuits,” he says:”I have always had a nostalgia for the rituals and ceremonies of the Church and I would rather spend all evening with a good Jesuit priest than with any atheist I know. But it’s a fact that religion has been used at times as an instrument of repression and my film overtly says so. Yet it’s a film about man’s search for meaning, it’s about life, death and rebirth, and it’s about the need we all have for one another. I don’t think you can be irreligious about subjects like that.”

Looking back at yesteryear . . .

Zardoz was one of those movies that was cool.  Dirty Harry cool, with a science fiction spin.  And it was supposed to have an ending that you didn’t expect.

Even though I figured it out before the big reveal, I still loved this movie, and the poster captures its uniqueness, AND its Britishness.  That’s really what it’s all about: a sci-fi future dystopia with a British worldview, American guns, an uber-religion, and James Bond in red leather bondage gear.

There are some things I miss about the ’70s, and the shotgun approach to moviemaking is one of them.

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