Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Zardoz”

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Well, Happy (early) April Fools Day!

I skipped out on last week’s Daredevil Hit Me With Your Best Shot (you have no idea how behind on television I am) and came back to a bit of an Easter egg. Or just an egg. This week’s entry of John Boorman’s notoriously kooky Zardoz is quite a hoot, both for its batshit vision of a future culture of sexual malcontents and for its psychedelic visuals.

Zardoz is like The Wizard of Oz if Dorothy dropped acid, took up macrame, and got a little kinky. Beyond that, I can’t tell you a damn thing it’s about. Sean Connery’s braided tangerine leather daddy goes through a vortex and descends upon a group of sexless scientists dressed like the ensemble of a slutty barn production of Pippin, and some sex stuff happens?

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Oh, yeah and some crystals! “I see nothing inside – except my own perplexity.” SAME.

Jokes aside about the indecipherably strange plot, the visuals are pretty fun – all pastel technicolor and hall-of-mirrors refracted. Shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, the legend behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and Cabaret, the camera consistently builds intrigue where the script prefers confundity. Though the overall effect is lethargic, the film does spark visually when capturing its lead actress Charlotte Rampling.

Yes, that Charlotte Rampling. And she’s actually quite good in the silly movie.

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Here her Consuela confronts Sean Connery’s “beast” Zed for his sexual primacy, only to reveal his sexual lust for her. The dancing pulse between them indicates Zed’s *ahem* tumescence at the sight of her, more stimulated than from previously provided pornographic images. But the pulse also draws a literal line attaching the two, a laser beam creating a tense eye-contact between the two that awakens the lustless Consuela.

It’s when we get her fully unhinged that we get the Best Shot:

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Consuela is at a literal tugging war at the sexually tense void between her and Zed, the pulse of his lust for her brought to life entangled in her own. Rampling is captured immaculately here, surrounded by vibrant color, but the most alive thing in the frame is her face. It’s powerful, sexual, and unexpectedly aggressive.

More of Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

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