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Sunday, February 15


(1974) “The gun is good. The penis is evil.” So sayeth the airborne, stone-headed god Zardoz in post-apocalyptic 2293, chucking guns to Sean Connery’s hairy-chested, red loinclothed Zed the Exterminator. Zed executes the law in a battle between the Eternals (immortals, living idyllically) and Brutals (mortals, who live to serve the Eternals). Boorman’s sole foray into science fiction – a class-conflict dystopic vision, sumptuously photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey) – though a flop when released, has now attained cult classic status. Approx. 105 mins. 35mm.


“Fascinating and beautiful and odd. The visuals are of the exquisitely trippy variety – ZARDOZ gives us a world of painterly images projected, trompe l’oeil-style, onto naked bodies, of intimate acts that take place under translucent silken veils conferring only a whisper of privacy, of giant stone heads that hover ominously above the Earth’s surface, fake gods spouting firearms and urging human beings to kill one another… Made with that kind of passion, so go-for-broke in its visionary craziness that the easy response is to laugh at it. Like nearly all of Boorman’s films, it pushes past such easy answers and into a challenging, verdant forest that demands we feel as well as think.”
– Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“Probably John Boorman’s most underrated film … highly inventive, provocative, and visually striking (sci-fi) adventure with metaphysical trimmings.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“The startling beauty and tension he can work into a single shot – say, of Connery rising out of a pile of dark grain holding a revolver – are the work of a filmmaker who is rather a wizard himself.”
– Jay Cocks, Time

“Visually the film remains a sparkling display of fireworks, brilliantly shot and directed.”
 – Tom Milne, Time Out London

Film Forum