WARNING: Spoilers for the movie Zardoz
Last night, I watched Zardoz for the second time. Zardoz is by no means a good movie. Often rambling or artsy, the film has trouble conveying all the fascets of the story it wants to tell.
The film is set hundreds of years in the future. Civilisation has broken down and small groups of people have isolated themselves in vortexes, to try and preserve the heights of science and the arts. These vortexes are protected by a force-field called the tabarnacle, that also reincarnates anyone who dies.
The people inside the vortex have been alive for over 250 years and have manipulated the populations outside the vortex, making them kill each other in order to reduce the threat to the vortexes.
The movie wears its theme on its sleeve – namely, death and what it means. The people in the vortex have lived so long and such boring lives that they want to die. The people outside the vortex live short, violent lives. Neither is ideal.
Zed, played by Sean Connery, infiltrates the vortex and eventually brings about the death the people there long for. The movie ends with him and his partner having a child, aging, watching their child leave and dying.
So, as I say, this movie is muddled and often boring, but it still affects me. It has a theme that strikes home for me personally. As an aetheist, I have no great longing to die. Given the option, I think I would choose to live forever. However, if I lived a few hundred years, would I still feel the same way?
On the other side of things, the small section at the end really brings home mortality to me. My oldest two sons are now fifteen. I am thirty-eight, and unlikely to live forever. I’ve always dwelled on a quote from Fight Club in the same way:
“You have to know, not fear, that some day you are going to die. Until you know that and embrace that, you are useless.” -Tyler
Mortality is a frightening thing, but without it driving you on, you might just be content to sit on a couch and watch your life go by without you.
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