萨杜斯

恐怖片英国1974

主演:肖恩·康纳利  夏洛特·兰普林  

导演:约翰·布尔曼

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更新时间:2023-11-11 00:46

详细剧情

三百年后的地球为一群高级科学家所统治,他们奴役贱民以供自己享乐,但有一名野蛮的毁灭者(肖恩·康纳利饰)闯进了科学家所建的世外桃源,使情况整个改观……

 长篇影评

 1 ) 虽然康纳利只穿了条红短裤,《萨杜斯》其实很严肃

在一些影史最糟糕造型的评选中,第一代的007扮演者、英俊潇洒的英国老帅哥肖恩·康纳利常常榜上有名。上榜的当然不是007的绅士造型或者后来那些越老越撑头的形象,引人侧目的是肖恩·康纳利留着大鬓角绑着大辫子身上只穿着红色内裤的怪异野蛮人造型。

这个形象出自1974年的英国电影《萨杜斯》。但即便有了肖恩·康纳利的这个惊世造型,《萨杜斯》好像依然有些默默无闻。或许是电影的“原始科幻风”有些不够时髦,又或者因为《2001太空漫游》、《人猿星球》、《飞向太空》等等科幻巨作珠玉在前光芒太盛而被人忽略了。不过,《萨杜斯》在主题和内容、趣味性和表现力上还是很有特色的。借着肖恩·康纳利的造型与身份为切入口,下面就试着来一探《萨杜斯》的究竟。希望能引起你对这部电影的兴趣。

肖恩·康纳利的角色在电影叫泽德(Zed),生活在未来的地球。这时的地球已经经历过危机,退化了。幸存的人类分化成不同的群体,为数最多的是像动物般挣扎于世的野蛮人。

泽德属于一个被称为“天选之子”的群体,红内裤是他们的标配服装。“神”,即“萨杜斯”从天而降,挑了一些人出来,赐予“永生”。当然“永生”不是白得的,“神”给他们武器,让他们消灭在地球上不断繁殖并产生污染的野蛮人。所以他们也被称为“Exterminator”(“终结者”、“灭虫者”)。他们其实就只是一群充当杀人机器的暴徒,和其他野蛮人没有太大的区别。

出现在野蛮人面前的“萨杜斯”,是一颗会飞的巨大的“石首”,发出巨大的声音,给出“神”的启示与命令。其实“石首”是一艘飞船,为“永恒之人”所有,是野蛮人与“永恒之人”所在的两个彼此隔绝的世界之间唯一的联系。虽然“萨杜斯”以神的姿态出现,但其实有着非常实际的用途,它送来武器,又运走食物和需要修复重生的尸体。

到后面观众会知道,“石首”并不是一艘普通的飞船,而是曾带着期待去探索未知寻找新世界的宇宙飞船。但是探索失败了,制造它的人的希望破灭了。也因为这样,造成了现在的局面,以及将要发生的事。

“永恒之人”是一群获得了永生的人,是人类曾经的精英以及他们的后代。在地球受到污染资源即将耗尽的时候,他们选择自保,建立了一个与外界隔绝属于他们的伊甸园。他们自给自足,而其他人类被抛弃在外荒,任其自生自灭。他们将自己的选择视为生存下去的唯一方法,是保存人类的文明与希望的必要手段。以私为公,以精英替代大同。他们的乐园被称为“Vortex”,即漩涡,亦或可作漩涡中心解,任其外风起云涌,其中却是平静祥和。

后来,他们发明建造了集知识、力量、信息化等于一体的“圣殿”,获得人与知识的永生。生殖也变得不再必须。何况在他们看来,人类的危机文明的危机就是因为人类无节制的繁殖荼毒地球造成的。他们不再生育;并且以神的姿态降临外荒,召集暴徒屠戮野蛮人,控制人口以图解决相应的问题。他们提供可以射出子弹杀人的枪,将另一种射出种子可以生人的“枪”视为邪恶。

“永恒之人”形成了一个以平等民主为基本准则的社会体系。每个人都能得到生活所需也都要干活,遇到分歧争执时用投票裁决。当然,最重要的是作为体系中的一员要认同这样的一个体系,不能质疑异想或散播消极情绪。他们不需要睡觉,但会通过“第二层冥想”统一各人的思想。违反者将被惩罚,惩罚的方式是增加其年龄(但不会死)。严重者或顽固者将被视为“叛徒”。

日子久了,“叛徒”也越来越多。最初创造这个世界的一批人,已不再保持当初的信念,他们自我放逐,不再参与体系的具体事务及运作,在狂欢中痛苦地渴望着死亡。除了“叛徒”,“漩涡”还面临另一个减员危机。一种“疾病”的流行对“永恒之人”也产生威胁,染病者被称为“无情人”,失去自我意识,变得如同行尸走肉一般。干活的手变少,吃饭的嘴却没少,让他们不得不改变了对待野蛮人的方式,不再一味屠杀,而强迫其从事农业生产以满足食物需求。

“漩涡”和“永恒之人”的危机显然不止于生产方式的落后导致的整个体系的脆弱。“漩涡”的建立与存在本身只是应急之策而非解决之道。而牺牲他人、制造谎言与恐怖更是使其在法理上存在严重缺陷。他们获得永生充当别人的上帝,自己的“上帝”却死了。他们继承了人类文明的遗产,拥有丰富的知识、收藏了各种艺术文化的精品,但精神生活却是贫乏的、枯燥的。还有他们对生殖的抵触对繁衍的恐惧,导致了性与情感的退化,生活变得非常地压抑无聊,无聊到想死。但他们想死也死不了。“漩涡”的建立,不仅使被抛弃在外的人遭受灾难挣扎于生存而失去自由,也使其内部的“永恒之人”受到种种限制遭受种种“惩罚”,甚至连死的自由都没有。

面对危机,“永恒之人”在寻求解决之道上产生了分歧,表面之下开始分裂。

一是以康苏拉(夏洛特·兰普林饰)为代表的保守派。他们觉得“漩涡”本就是为解决危机所建立的,所以他们要做的就是继承创立者的意志不动摇,严格遵照规则行事,消除异见分歧,维持现有体系就是王道。

第二类是以科学家梅为代表的改良派。她对“漩涡”没有异议,但在“叛徒”和“无情人”大量出现的情况下,对“永恒之人”本身产生了怀疑。她希望恢复生育,产生新的人口,以期将来形成新的种族。

还有一类是以“萨杜斯”本尊、外荒管理者阿瑟·弗莱恩及其同道弗兰德(Friend)为代表的革新派。他们不仅不认可现有体系,而且将其存在本身就视为一个巨大的错误,希望能将其彻底破坏。而他们作为体制内之人,只凭自己有些力不从心。所以他们希望借助外部的力量,打破这个畸形的牢笼。

阿瑟·弗莱恩利用职务之便,找到了泽德。一个强壮充满生命力的个体,而且他虽然是“终结者”的一员但却对眼前发生的这一切野蛮行为有所触动。弗莱恩将他引进一座图书馆,让他识字,学习人类的历史与知识,并引导他识破“萨杜斯”的谎言。(弗莱恩给泽德看《绿野仙踪》“The Wizard of Oz”,让他发现“萨杜斯”的秘密。弗莱恩本来就是根据《绿野仙踪》里魔法师的故事创造(包装)出了“萨杜斯”,其名字“Zardoz”也是由“The Wizard of Oz”而来。)

泽德爬进“萨杜斯”跟随它进入“漩涡”,他要找寻真相,并为欺骗与奴役寻求复仇。影片的主线故事便是从这里开始的。

泽德渐渐了解了这个世界的真相,并在与“永恒之人”的接触、对抗以及融合中,获得了更多的知识、更深的认识,最终超越了“复仇者”的身份。“永恒之人”也因为泽德而改变,暴力、欲望、情感等原始因素被激发,也加速了“漩涡”的毁灭。泽德成了“解放者”、“救世主”。他破坏“圣殿”,打破了“漩涡”与外荒的界线。但他也拒绝了暴力,拒绝了以胜利的“复仇者”之姿迎接未来。他看透了人类的本质,又意识到个体的局限,像个圣人一样选择了离群隐居。

“永恒之人”之中:康苏拉得到了爱情跟随泽德隐居;梅领着一群人,带着泽德的“种子”以及知识,远走他乡;剩下的绝大多数包括弗莱恩、弗兰德在内,以解脱、幸福之姿迎来了死亡。世界又陷入混沌,一切将重新开始。

以上便是《萨杜斯》所描述的世界的主要内容。影片对人类历史与现状、困境与挣扎的表现是非常丰富且精准的,“原始科幻”并不落伍枯燥,带出的思考与问题也值得观者注意。不过导演在一些细节的处理上略显粗糙。比如康苏拉因爱转变以及泽德破坏“圣殿”的等情节或场景就显得有些简单抽象,是整体效果上的瑕疵。

最后再说一下影片的开头与结尾。阿瑟·弗莱恩以一颗飞翔的脑袋之态出现片头,他讲述“萨杜斯”的意义。这样戏剧化的又略显怪异的开场白,不同于一般的背景介绍,反而会让刚开始看电影的观众不明所以(要看完电影才能明白他所讲的内容)。片尾,泽德和康苏拉在洞穴中,一起生子、老去、死亡,影像很有冲击力,但表述其实是平静的。或许这就是导演自己对人类未来的一种表达:人终还是要遵从自然法则回归自然的。


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 2 ) Fredric Jameson: History and the Death Wish: Zardoz as Open Form(1974)

History and the death wish:

Zardoz as open form

by Fredric Jameson

from Jump Cut, no. 3, 1974, pp. 5-8

copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1974, 2004

Does ZARDOZ mean anything? And even if it does, even if we manage to disengage some relatively coherent “statement” from this complicated entanglement of plot and image, is it just possible that such a statement or message might be diluted beyond all recognition by the medium’s own sensory overload? Is it possible, in other words, that conceptual meaning knows some weakened status in the movie house, compared to the authority it exercises in a purely verbal text? Are abstract ideas, somehow neutralized by the weight of the present and the intensity with which we stare at the sheer narcotic flux of the screen’s materials?

If we think about ZARDOZ in a “literary” way, at any rate, the action of the film is evidently designed to make two distinct philosophical points, not necessarily related to each other. On the one hand, Boorman seems to have set out to redramatize an idea of religion essentially developed by Enlightenment thinkers: namely, that all religious belief is a superstitious mystification perpetuated by a cruel and repressive apparatus of priests and oppressors. Think, for instance, of the Marquis de Sade’s remark, characteristic of the whole Age of Reason in this respect: “The invention of the idea of God is the only crime I cannot find it in myself to pardon mankind.” So Zed’s murder of the “puppet master”—which at first strikes us as the bloody lust to destroy an ignorant savage—little by little comes to take on the heroic value of a gesture of human liberation.

Yet what is tantalizing and “estranging” about Boorman’s version of the theme is the way in which, in his vision of a distant future which has forgotten its own past, alongside the great forerunners in the battle against the infâme, alongside Voltaire and the Encyclopédie, the dog-eared illustrated pages of the Wizard of Oz itself take their place! A quite different notion of the virulence and the unexpectedly active revolutionary power even of such a very modest cultural artifact than in Kubrick’s cynical demonstration in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, of the indifferent reinforcement by classical music of whatever activity it happens to be associated with rape, murder, torture and the like. (It is true that in both films there is an implicit rebuke to “high” bourgeois culture—the stuffy image of the Beethoven bust is invoked in the service of the inhumane, while genuine enlightenment emerges, not from the great philosophers and poets, but from a chance reading of J. Frank Baum.)

I suppose that in the relatively secularized world of U.S. capitalism, with its denominational “tolerance” and its anodyne Protestant sects, the attack on superstition may be difficult to recognize for the powerful revolutionary motif it has been throughout Western history, in the emergence of a secular middle-class state from the pre-rationalistic values of the feudal era. Its practical lesson is inscribed, indeed, not in recent U.S. experience, but in the sorry failures of national and revolutionary movements in our own time from Ireland to Islam, which have shaken off foreign domination only to remain the voluntary prisoners of their own backward and ignorant local religions. In countries like these, the anticlerical passion, the struggle against the habits of hierarchy and obedience taught by religious doctrines, is a life-and-death issue. But in the United States it seems a dim memory, anachronistically evoked in ritualistic debates about federal aid to parochial schools. Yet I would think that the very real power of this part of Boorman’s film can be fully appreciated only when understood as part of that older Enlightenment tradition. Only think of the stone head itself, as it hovers over groveling populations, soaring against a vacant blue sky like the very revelation of the sacred itself in some simplified and more fundamental universe.

This theme is thus progressive, but it is attenuated in its ideological effect. Neither of these things can be said about ZARDOZ’s other major thesis, namely the alleged relation between nature and morality, and the claim that human beings need death in order to realize some genuinely human existence. This thought, however doubtful its ideological connotations, can boast whatever degree of philosophical respectability you may desire, from Heidegger’s “being-unto-death” to Robert Ardrey’s assertion of man’s killer instinct. Here we have a dramatization of that motto from the Satyricon which Eliot used as his motto for The Waste Land:

“I once saw the Sybil of Cumae hanging in a bottle, and when the boys asked her, ‘Sybil, what do you want?’ she said, ‘I want to die.’”

Myth critics of the Frye persuasion will certainly find other versions in the tradition for this archetype, which lies somewhere between the legend of the Wandering Jew (with its literary embodiments all the way to Swift’s Struldbrugs, Melmoth the Wanderer and Simone de Beauvoir’s Tous les hommes sont mortels) and the notion of a Götterdammerung-style collective euthanasia. We may, however, want to take a less belle-lettristic attitude towards the present variation on this theme. Remember that, before making ZARDOZ, Mr. Boorman lent himself to a lavish production of that sermon in backwoods self-reliance which is James Dickey’s Deliverance. It is a cautionary tale for a soft and citified U.S. bourgeoisie which therein is warned about the urgency of self-defense in a world not uniformly well disposed to suburbia. It is true that Mr. Boorman, possibly out of embarrassment, tried to correct the perspective of his text by making his heroes more distinctly antipathetic than they were in the novel. He also added the banjo session, in which a positive side of hillbilly culture was underscored, and a kind of compromise meeting ground between the two sides at least temporarily arranged. Still, DELIVERANCE’s moral suggests that this aspect of ZARDOZ needs a harder and more suspicious look than anything myth criticism is capable of. It also reminds us of our opening question, namely, what relation a movie’s conceptual or ideological content ought to have to that more general sensory experience which it embodies and to the ultimate value we may want to assign it as a work of art.

We should begin by noting that the presence of History is not so strong in ZARDOZ as it is in science fiction of the “near future type (e.g., the 1984-type dystopia, SOYLENT GREEN). Boorman’s film, indeed, seems to hesitate between a future history of a henceforth conventional kind—which dramatizes the human race’s survival after the atomic cataclysm, the rebuilding of civilization, the survival of knowledge, or the return of mankind to the savagery of some dark ages. Or it may offer instead an atemporal fable of the appearance-reality variety, something on the order of, say, THE MAGNUS, which seems to have left its traces here in the (to me) tiresome puppet master/ magician, with his annoyingly self-conscious winks at the audience.

Yet History can nonetheless be felt in the splendid opening sequences—less in the implied distance between our own present and this projection of a distant future some three centuries hence than in the cross cutting from one landscape of this future world to another. For by the time of Zardoz, the human race is supposed to have evolved along in two separate and independent lines of development. On the one hand, there’s the “outlands,” with their feudal structure and their return to barbarism, their hooded horsemen and helpless population put to sword and flame. On the other, ZARDOZ opposes a vision of a post-technological Utopia, a commune of leisure and super-science whose inhabitants have chosen, for hygienic reasons, to perform their own manual tasks. These sequences are marked with a curiously pastoral, anachronistic character. We see future machinery erected within the rural peacefulness of the British countryside, historic abbeys outfitted with wonderworking equipment shrouded in transparent plastic, unpolluted Irish woods and ponds among which the immortals, in their Grecian vestments and ancient Egyptian headdresses, discreetly wander. This village enclave, indeed, provides us with some spectacular Godard-like solid colors and painted walls, recalling Stanley Cavell’s idea (1) that color, in film, far from being an added instrument in conveying reality, is in fact a means of transmuting the given, a device of Utopian transfiguration.

These two modes of life are of unequal difficulty aesthetically. That of the reversion to barbarism is no doubt the easiest to convey, and the most powerful and suggestive. ZARDOZ’s opening sequences recall that electrifying first glimpse of the masters of the PLANET OF THE APES on horseback, driving their servile population of former humans before them through the fields. Masks and horses: suddenly Marc Bloch’s attribution to the latter of the entire feudal power structure (2) takes on a deeper and more fundamental symbolism. The images of horsemen on the strand, of hooves galloping through the foam on the edges of the sea itself, exercise a powerful atavistic fascination on the modern mind. It’s as though they were sweeping a world free of the detritus of marinas and motels, of pleasure boats and gas stations, and returning us to a harsher nature in which man nonetheless—owing to his mount!—plays a more commanding and active role than is assigned him in what we call civilization.

The vision of our civilized order’s collapse, indeed, touches a receptive chord in anyone’s imagination. It awakens some of those same fantasies and anxieties which DELIVERANCE also set out to manipulate. This particular future-history convention, the disappearance of civilization after a historic catastrophe, the reversion to Neolithic life, or feudalism, or isolated food-gathering tribal units, is not necessarily the unalloyed nightmare it may at first seem. It relieves us, indeed, of the obligations of civilization as well, of the burden of repression inherent in the latter, of which Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents is the classic statement. The end of the world is a1so the end of this particular world of U.S. monopoly capitalism. As such, the possibility can be just as much a wish fulfillment as a source of alarm; in the event, I think, are both at once, in the unity of a single complex and ambivalent fantasy line.

Yet, even the negative aspect of this convention is perhaps more complicated than we may be tempted to think. Obviously, its first implication is a radically personal one, raising the fundamental question about our survival in such an altered universe. It causes us to wonder whether we ourselves would have had the know-how and the ruthlessness to adapt to more primitive conditions and demands. DELIVERANCE’s original sin, from an ideological point of view, was to have tried to allay this anxiety and to have answered this question, to have provided a formula apt to satisfy the self questionings of the bourgeois public. In this sense DELIVERANCE was a cheap wish fulfillment with hidden political motive. It tried to suggest that people like us (read: the U.S. middle classes) can really be counted on, when the chips are down and in spite of our woeful physical preparation, to win out and smite our enemies. ZARDOZ, by transposing the entire issue into future history, eliminates at least this immediate local class reference. It apparently divests the fantasy of its ideological implications (although whether this can ever really be completely achieved we will try to determine later on).

ZARDOZ’s strength, in this respect, lies in the ambiguity of its main character, who is both stronger and stupider than we are (a barbarian, with barbaric ruthlessness and impulses) but also more intelligent and ultimately more resourceful and imaginative than his Utopian captors. He is not therefore a hero in the usual sense of a model for behavior, but rather something closer to a device for capturing and holding our fantasy investment. Sean Connery’s heavy features have indeed rarely been so expressive in their basic inexpressiveness. Scowls, blank looks, a raised eyebrow or a sudden sharp light in the eye, the most economical gestures are here charged with density of meaning, with the accumulated reactions of a whole character structure. It is good to see this actor used to better effect than in the vacuity of the Bond movies, for whose sophisticated banter his facial equipment was far too ponderous (Roger Moore is much more suitable). Connery’s gift is rather that of the physical orchestration of sarcasm, of contempt, of glacial indifference, of the type which, before this, he was given to manifest in Kalatazov’s admirable RED TENT. There, Amundsen’s arrogance and disdain finally met a worthy adversary in death itself. In the icy wreckage of the dirigible, among corpses as though immobilized for an instant at their various occupations, doomed, he calmly prepares himself for his fate, meditatively opening a stray volume in order to while away the final minutes of life.

What, indeed, is the star system good for, if not to offer so many diverse physical forms in which our various reactions find appropriate objectification? Projected outward and manifested in something a little more complex than what has been called empathy or identification, our own fleeting emotions and feelings find themselves endowed each with a complete individuality of its own. Our feelings are lent the stylistic homogeneity of, say, erotic humor, or defenselessness, or rage, or nerves—each insubstantial nuance of our own being-in-the-world made flesh and labeled with the name of an actor, contemplated with a complacency in which the very secret of the movies as a form lies buried. So here there is something touching about the use of Connery’s muscular body, among the sexless androgynous creature creatures of the Vortex, as a very symbol of human frailty and mortality.

As for his adversaries among the Utopians, the men, at least, are surely meant to dramatize the opposite of the body itself, a kind of angelism of which the sex organs’ atrophy is both symptom and symbol. The aesthetic problem here is that Boorman has judged his Utopia from the outset and condemned it to destruction. Thus he deprives the film of some more interesting and ambiguous tension between the demands of life and the consequences of perfection. In this hostility to the Utopian impulse, Boorman is of course not alone. On the contrary, it is characteristic of the entire West today, whose dominant convention in this realm is rather the dystopia, Utopia gone wrong like some nightmare of berserk machinery. In dystopia all the features of order are mustered to create the ultimate straitjacket for the human instincts, if not the human spirit. But we should take into consideration the possibility that this repugnance of our society for the Utopian vision may itself be an ideological symptom rather than a genuine historical and ontological recognition. Marcuse is, indeed, only the most recent to have denounced the anti-utopian inclination of our society as a key feature in its repressive apparatus and structure. It seems to me axiomatic that the refusal of Utopia—whatever motivation is given (e.g., excessive rationalization, atrophy of the physical, planification and totalitarianism)—is always a code word or disguise for refusing socialism. The anti-utopian strategy has as its function to eliminate from the outset the possibility of any speculation about human possibilities and the transformation of the social order. It forestalls the kind of thinking which would explain the present society’s imperfections and injustices as the result of history and human action, rather than as the reflection of some immutable and constitutionally defective human nature. Not that Boorman has anything original to add to this strategy, which begins to be elaborated with the Soviet revolution (We, Brave New World) and knows its climax in the U.S. apologists of tie Cold War. But his film works within its conventions and thus serves, if nothing else, as to contribute to its reinforcement.

The classical representation of the opposition between barbarism and Utopia, or between degenerated versions of each, is however to be found in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895), a work which, in its deliberate and cynical demystification of such 19th century idealistic Utopias as Bellamy’s Looking Backward, may be said to represent something like the climax of 19th century speculation on the nature and future development of the industrial class system. In Wells, of course, the weak and pitiful Eloi have become the victims of the grim Morlocks, who live and work beneath the earth and emerge at night to prey on the descendents of their former rulers. In ZARDOZ, this process has not yet gone so far. Boorman’s sexless “Eloi” are still able, through the use of religion and the establishment of a kind of mercenary army of the classical Lumpenproletariat type, to control otherwise dangerous “lower classes” and to use the latter’s labor to establish for themselves an oasis of leisure and privilege.

But the inhabitants of Boorman’s Vortex are a ruling class of a particular type. They are drawn principally from the scientific elite, whose discoveries and technological know-how have made this new Utopia possible. Thus another possible interpretation or decoding would read the film as a fable of the University itself, as the spectacle of a realm isolated from the surrounding culture, of intellectuals as unsuccessful candidates for some projected new race of supermen, and their ivory tower as the spoils of the barbarians who break in upon them to destroy it.

In this respect, ZARDOZ redramatizes another familiar theme of science fiction, which is worth pausing on for a moment, namely the hypostasis of the cultural tradition as such. Such a theme depicts the pathos of a new intellectual dark ages, and the burning of the books, the vision of a rebirth of civilization from the monastic manuscripts and the like. Indeed, books themselves have always played an important role in science fiction, but in a somewhat different way from that more familiar way in high culture where we so often find novels written about novels and in general literature which signifies literature itself. I am not at all convinced that science fiction is really about science, nor even that scientific elements or ideology loom very large in it. (The example of Jules Verne would suggest, indeed, that technology and engineering are the more basic models, if models of this type are sought.) It is certain that the overvaluation of the Library as such is a reflex of the technological orientation. (It is part of the whole complex of values of idealistic liberalism, with its emphasis on reeducation and on education proper, and, to return to our opening theme, in general on enlightenment.) It is essential to preserve the books, not because, as in “high” literature, there is some privileged value seen in writing and inscription in general, but because books contain the secret of the machines. The manual gives the plan of Brian Aldiss’ Starship while the starship’s log tells the story of the disaster that resulted in a new dark ages for its passengers. More explicitly, the classics of “future history” all in one way or another sound this theme. The canonical treatment is surely Walter Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz, in which a priestly caste of intellectuals preserves scientific documents and know-how against iconoclastic and book-burning barbarians. The latter theme is of course the very subject of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, while the Strugatsky Brothers’ Hard to be a God gives a picture the same archetypal “dark ages” from the standpoint of the tradition of Soviet science fiction. My own suspicion is that this henceforth conventionalized theme amounts to the worst kind of ideological vested interest on the part of intellectuals themselves, even of those who might otherwise feel a little shame at this self-serving status apologia, but who may well be willing to sacrifice such personal reluctance in the name of the survival of Culture itself. Much more palatable are those Utopias, from William Morris to Phil Dick, which are conceived in terms of handicraft and manual labor, the return to the rudiments of village production as a kind of implied rebuke to the passive consumption encouraged by commodity capitalism (elements also present in rudimentary form, as we have seen in ZARDOZ). Even though such visions are themselves anachronistic, insofar as they are ultimately inspired by an older archaic stage in the development of the economic system to which we can scarcely hope to return, their very ideologies redolent of the handicraft radicalism of tinkers and village shoemakers, the politics of Bunyan and Blake, let alone of the twenty-first or -second century. Yet the emphasis on labor rather than on knowledge amounts to a glorification of the Slave rather than the Master, of village industry rather than of that priestly caste whose monopoly on writing and books, as Lévi-Strauss suggests, was at the very origins of class society and of political domination.(3)

Still, I must admit that I like Boorman’s version of the ultimate library better than the sentimentalized ambulatory classics of Bradbury and Truffaut. There is something tantalizing, indeed, about these Arcimbaldo-like human forms marbled over by the very raw materials of culture itself, with equations and molecules, script and cartographic projects, torsos, busts, and whole statues convex with scientificity, plastic glimpses of flesh transmuted into the very codes of knowledge, succeeding themselves in a revolving pan shot against the black void of the turning screen itself. (It is doubly amusing, then, that this supreme knowledge should come to the hero as the other end of an exchange of all he has to offer in return, namely emissions of fresh and healthy sperm cells.)

This is the moment, perhaps, to press our initial question a little more insistently. We shoul try to determine what connection there is, if any, between Boorman’s “ideology”—if that is the right word for the conceptual content of ZARDOZ—and his purely filmic visual composition. The film, which has inevitably been compared to Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, seems to me much closer in general narrative spirit to movies like Fellini’s SATYRICON. (To reawaken a dead world is as “speculative” as the projection of a future one, it is an enterprise we might characterize—think of Golding’s Inheritors—as archeological science fiction.)

The visual features of 2001 were, on the one hand, the screen as a surface to be inscribed, and on the other, the window-cockpit traveling across an expanse of landscapes. So its great events were moments like that in which the “life lines” of the sleeping crew members gradually flattened out into death’s static linearity (here the screen functions as an instrument panel, or the registering apparatus of a seismograph or an EKG). Or that in which the computer HAL is dismantled, circuit by circuit (the visual sequence of lights being extinguished here reduplicated by the successive decomposition of the computer’s voice as well). Or again, like the slow approach or rapid tumbling disappearance of the body of the dead astronaut in space, encased in the cocoon of his cumbersome space suit. Or the final dizzying flight over some hallucinogenic Arctic of colors beyond the normal range of human eyesight. ZARDOZ is no match for moments like these, in which we are spectators seated comfortably in the speeding vehicle of a movie theatre soaring into infinity. But to Kubrick’s reaffirmation of the flatness of the visual screen, Boorman has his own distinctive effects to oppose, and notably the concept of the visual field as a plane or interface of some more complex and layered, chippable or fragmentable crystalline solid. (I would suppose that the ultimate symbol of the crystal emerges from Boorman’s use of the camera, rather than the other way around.) So the visual pleasures of ZARDOZ are of a world explored with the rather complex registering instrument of crystalline refraction, or, occasionally, a world itself encased in crystal, and to be penetrated or at length, to be smashed. Connery pounds on the invisible force field which is also your movie screen, and he knows the ultimate and predictable, Wells-like bewilderment in the cinematographic house of mirrors. But there are also more curious projections of technique back into theme, or of what Jakobson would have called the axis of combination back into the axis of selection again(4). This is notably visible in the obsession with plastic bags and coverings, which are little other than the movie screen itself gone limp, sagging upon the struggling characters and impeding their movements, a kind of ultimate working through of Boorman’s interest in planes and silhouettes, of solids viewed through semi-transparent partitions of veils or vegetation.

One is tempted, indeed, to see the whole plot in terms of a substitution of one kind of space for another. In this reading, the viewer is prepared for ZARDOZ’s peculiar non-Euclidean geometry and spatial structure by the initial experience of the stone head itself. Detached against the void from all perspective or worldness, it’s a free-floating image, then organizes the rest of the ordinary physical world rid around itself as a kind of Gestalt-like “background.” Here normal innerworldly perspective is then bracketed by something like a kind of meta-space or meta-perspective. We are forced to move inside the head itself, inside of some new and unaccustomed enveloping solid, in order to glimpse our world again in the ordinary way, in a Kubrick-like panoramic flight. This initial visual experience would then provide the motivation for the rest of the film’s development. In terms of the content, it expresses the terror of the open plain, of that defenseless exposure of the remnants of humanity to their marauding persecutors. The other end of the film, the terminus of what might be called this purely spatial plot, is the cave’s clean but contained space, in which the screen once more recovers its character, as a space on which to be inscribed. Here the succession of slides give us the family sequence through time to death and a kind of skeletal trompe-l'oeil composition, with the hanging gun and the fossil traces of an ancient human past. The Vortex, then, comes to be seen as the bewildering and mediatory element through which we must pass to arrive at this concluding image, in which, through space, something like the real time of human existence is once more reinvented.

So, at length, we reach ZARDOZ’s ideological center with its strident advocacy of the right to die. I have to confess that the orgy of violence with which this idea celebrates its triumph does not offend me very much. Here again, we find a paradoxical demonstration of the difference between narrative logic and that of ordinary innerworldly content. In terms of the plot and for the inhabitants of the Vortex, death is a good thing. This final slaughter sets off overtones of a happy ending which are most peculiar, given the context.

Nor is it even certain that Boorman’s thesis here is necessarily a rightwing theory of the Ardrey type. I see at least one way of reading ZARDOZ which would have quite a different emphasis and make of it a powerful commentary on the structural propensity of the affluent society to generate death and radiate violence in the world surrounding it. In a reading like this, we Americans are ourselves the Vortex’s immortals, freed by the service economy from the drudgery of real labor and sheltered cosmetically from any real experience of death. Yet our world’s leisure and privileges are dependent on the effectiveness with which, through the violence of our mercenaries and the power of superstition and enforced ignorance, we are able to extract the necessary riches from servile and miserable populations abroad. At length, even to ourselves, capitalism comes to seem a criminal attempt to tamper with the laws of nature (e.g., in terms of the film, to live forever). The ultimate reckoning at the hands of the barbarians (read: Armageddon, the final destruction of the Fortress Amerika) is by way of rejoining the rest of the human race in their finite (e.g., mortal) but more authentic existence.

Of course, the force as well as the ambiguity of the openness of this type of form (essentially a kind of fable) is that there is nothing in the movie to dictate such an interpretation to its public. There’s nothing in the structure of the form to preempt alternative readings or to ensure that the ideologically correct conclusions will really be drawn in the long run. And there is nothing whatsoever to prevent the viewers from falling back on the opposite thesis and concluding that Boorman has once again convinced us of the existence of some impulse to hunt and kill at the very center of human life. So it is ultimately up to personal impression whether the anti-Utopian thesis described above is not, at length, the principal message we take away from the film. It has an appeal to ethical cliché (to build a Utopia is a sin of pride), to anti-intellectualism (even scientists end up making disastrous mistakes), to machismo (you'll lose your balls), and to political terror (an experiment of this kind always turns into a dictatorship of some elite). But perhaps the assessment of the movie’s dominant theme is less significant, ideologically, than the very fact of the open form itself, which suggests an aesthetic strategy not unlike that of liberal pluralism and “repressive tolerance” in the political realm.

The apologists of the French nouvelle vague have frequently suggested that, in spite of the legends which developed around the great silent movie directors in the first regressive period after the introduction of sound, it is only in the last fifteen years that film’s full resources have been available and exploited, for the first time, in the artistic realization of distinctive personal statements as rich as those of modern poetry or the modern novel. And it is certain that the variety and formal virtuosity of the work of directors like Bergman and Fellini is quite unprecedented and seems to mark a new departure. ZARDOZ is clearly a film of this type, which, in budgetary outlay and in technical know-how and ingenuity of effects, one cannot imagine having been made at any earlier period.

Yet with this new freedom and range of expressive means ought to go something which one is forced to call artistic responsibility. It is not the idea of using film as a medium for subjective and lyrical visions that I object to so much. That is both Fellini’s strength and self-indulgence. And there is no reason why movies should be deprived of the same rights as literary language. But Boorman’s vision is not really personal enough to qualify for Fellini-type self-expression. While the vacuity of recent productions such as Jodorowski’s HOLY MOUNTAIN—very much in Fellini’s tradition for their dazzling imagery—make you begin to wonder whether the subjective and self-expressive period of modern moviemaking is not at an end. I wonder whether we have not reached, in movies, something like the post-modernism of contemporary U.S. poetry, which is no longer interested in subjective richness or in the individual ego and its wealth of fantasy and style. Boorman’s movies are at any rate post-subjective in this sense. His equivalent for the older types of subjectivity is, as I have suggested above, the fable. And it is the fable as a form which accounts for the plurality of meanings we have thought we could detect in ZARDOZ. Science fiction or metaphysical fable: this hesitation we are now in a better position to evaluate. I would think myself that an outright commitment to science fiction would have forced Boorman into an honesty and a speculation about future history which his other aesthetic all too cheaply and easily allows him to elude. Is the fable about to become our generation’s formal cop-out, and fulfill the function of those tiresome Faulknerian myths and Jamesian ironies with which our fathers attempted, after their fashion, to avoid the unpleasant realities of politics and history itself? I hope not. At least there is enough of an aesthetic corrective in ZARDOZ to give it vitality. May the viewer only make no mistake about it, and attribute to the fable the energy and the content which belonged in reality to the science fiction framework.

Notes

1. See his chapter on color in The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film (New York, 1971 pp. 80-101.

2. See his Feudal Society (Chicago, 1968), p. 152.

3. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes tropiques (New York, 1970), ch. 25, “A Writing Lesson.”

4. See his definition of poetry in Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics,” Style in Language, ed. Thomas A. Sebeok (Cambridge, 1960), p. 358.

 3 ) ultra-trippy cult classic

爱尔兰导演John Boorman1974年的科幻CULT经典作品《Zardoz》以遥远未来的2293年为时代背景,架空了一个经历核污染后工业社会被遗弃的未来人类分化的世界,人类被分成过于野蛮和过于文明的两大势力,他们各自生存在不同维度的空间,只有通过一个漩涡才能到达。野蛮阵营的人整日热衷于战争,文明水平及其落后,只能骑马作战,他们膜拜一个巨大的石像人头形象的邪神Zardoz,他可以给予枪支弹药这些杀戮的工具;文明阵营的人掌握了高度的科技生产力,使得自己都获得了永生并且没有杀戮和性爱的原始欲望。野蛮人终结者Zed偶然钻进巨石人头神像飞过了漩涡到达了文明世界,那里的永生者抓获了他,一位固执的女人本想处决以防止收到外来势力的精神侵蚀,可通过民主投票表决,更多的人愿意把他留下来用作研究,还有他的到来使得永生者的生活多了些乐趣。整个作品充满了乌托邦色彩,并从冷战核威胁、人类社会病态以及民主体制各方面进行了隐喻,虽然布景道具简陋,翻来覆去就那么几种,但是整个作品有很强的科幻设定的形式感和假定性,文明永生者的生活看上去也不是那么先进,像处于一个农业文明,可是极简却又高度科技化的统一使得他们的文明极具特色,他们周围还有多种奇特的被遗弃的病态人群被隔绝地生活。片中多棱镜的视觉效果使得本片被影评人称为“ultra-trippy cult classic”即指由致幻药引起幻觉的迷幻效果,本片与《人猿星球》(老版)题材相似,但是影片内涵比后者要复杂深刻。

 4 ) You murdered your own god by an accident

好久看电影没这么激动过了。想起十多年前《The Matrix》,两部都是抽象的哲学电影,关于专制、民主、统治、信仰、科学、乌托邦的寓言。当然,《Zardoz》在叫人惊叹赞赏的人物形象和特效上,与《The Matrix》无法同日而语,强烈怀疑这部戏给肖恩康纳利的片酬占了大部分的成本,那些穿短裤的人物形象和塑料布做的特效,装成DNA分析图的海洋浮游生物,连中国科幻片的水平都不及。
不过,好看的戏,在内容而非包装,哲学电影又是所有电影中最难表达的。可惜好东西,似乎不是大家都能欣赏的,74年本片上映时,招来劈头盖脸的臭骂,联想到《The Matrix》的风光,再次验证了那句老话:“超前时代半步是天才,超前时代三步是蠢材。”

You murdered your own god by an accident
“你不小心干掉了自己的上帝。”
这句台词,差点笑死。想想上帝确实是给“不小心”干掉的,但这不小心,不仅出于凡人,而且上帝自己也“不小心”,或者是厌倦“不朽”后刻意的疏忽;毕竟,主动引诱扎德认字读书的,就是扮上帝扮得太无聊的亚瑟。亚瑟教扎德认字,大概就是指望着有一天能死在这个野蛮人手中。
电影给扎德选了一本“丧失童真”的书,居然是《奥兹国历险纪》(美版《绿野仙踪》),又叫人笑半天,王小波说,他在《一个洋鬼子在中国的游历》这本书上丧失童真的;似乎在某本书上丧失童真,是常事;回头想想自己,还没有一本这么刻骨铭心的书;不过,读书,却向来是使人丧失童真的,就算一本“充满童真”的书,也会起到相反的作用,主要看你怎么读喽!
好奇电影在什么季节拍的,肖恩康纳利有没有感冒,因为扎德这个野蛮人,在片中从头至尾都光着膀子跑来跑去,不过这部戏倒让我真正领略到“最性感男人”的魅力。我说的不止是肖恩康纳利耀眼的胸毛,雄性十足的小胡子。上次在网上看见人讨论“性感”,难得有中国人理解“性感”不等于“漂亮”,“漂亮”也不等于“性感”,但什么是“性感”呢?似乎也没人给予准确定义。我想拿肖恩康纳利演的这个扎德作为“性感”代表。性感,是一种自我毫无歉疚的生存状态,不奴颜谄媚,也不顾影自怜,坦然自若理直气壮地活着。
“知识”和“性本能”,给证实从来是搞垮天堂,干掉上帝的原动力。

事先看过简介,知道扎德最后从天堂里掳了个女人来作老婆。所以夏阿姨一出场,就认为该是她的,谁知戏大部分,扎德都和梅这个老太婆搞七捻三;康丝薇拉倒是一直坚决除掉外来入侵者,后来不惜血染双手亲自出马。这对狗男女最终会走在一起,倒让人出乎意料。不过想一想,似乎又有其必然性。天堂里的男神女神们,多少都带点人的“瑕疵”,最少瑕疵最具神性的,是康丝薇拉了,她不好奇也不渴望,她一见扎德,本能地感受到“神权”受“凡人”的威胁。扎德最后注定要和一个女人结合,繁衍,继续人类历史,那找康丝薇拉就找对了。因为凡人,需要与“神”结合才能成神,才能不朽。人,和神,总得一人占一头。神话才能继续,历史才能延续。

不过康丝薇拉怎么从追杀者,迅速变为臣服者,电影这里有点交待不清,我没看明白。是不是扎德吸收了众神的知识后,能为更高级的“神”,所以有能力控制康丝薇拉的思想了呢?

整部影片虽然服装背景特效都乱七八糟,小儿科;不过最后一段拍得真优美,一边是天堂里众神遭受血腥的屠戮;一边扎德和康斯薇拉跑去山洞结合生子,慢慢衰老腐朽,化为尘土,人生弹指一瞬,又开启下一个神话,配上figlio perduto的背景音乐,给人无限苍茫远阔之感。

 5 ) 纪念童年

好久没看到这片子了,这部片子给我的童年带来了难以想象的震撼,一直到今天都记忆犹新、写的大概是肖恩所扮演的一个类似于野蛮人的角色闯入了一个类似于乌托邦地方。
1、乌托邦里只有生没有死,人人都是长生不死,生活环境宛如仙境、各种高科技。但是,他们没有性。。。。人都是培养出来的。
2、乌托邦里的人慢慢的会患上怪病,病症就是变的疯狂或者痴钝。
3、我看的未删节版,里面有大量的裸露镜头,是在电视台看的,现在看来简直不敢想象,当然是地方台,记忆最深的地方就是野蛮人被抓后,乌托邦的这些神仙对他进行测试,看哪种影像能让他产生性欲,然后就放了几段完全是黄片的片段,包括一对充斥了整个屏幕的裸露的胸部和不停抓揉胸部的手。。。
4、野蛮人性欲起的时候摸了一个痴钝的女人的胸部,想和她交媾,但看她没反应就放弃了,这个女人后来慢慢的治愈了,而且感受到了性。最终乌托邦的人明白了这一切。他们恢复了性,代价是放弃了永生。野蛮人带来了生命也带来了死亡。
5、最终,所有人疯狂的交媾,而乌托邦外的其他野蛮人攻破了这里杀死了所有人,肖恩和一个美丽的乌托邦女子一起逃跑,隐居在山洞,用的写意的手法,幻灯片一样的手法,他们做爱,怀孕,生子,儿子长大离去,他们两人坐在那里慢慢的老去,最终变成两具白骨。。
我当时只是个小学生,这么宏大的哲学命题,这么露骨的性描写,还有那种令人疯狂的平淡的叙事手法让我简直无法入眠,刚专门去搜了下,怎么也找不到那种未删减版的了。没有那种近乎于冷淡的性镜头,这部片子少了点睛之笔。遗憾。。。
这么多字估计是没人看的,写给我自己,纪念我与众不同的童年。

 6 ) 永生的困局

永生的困局
[萨杜斯]Zardoz 1974
出品:英国 导演:约翰·保曼John Boorman 文:西帕克
      在博尔赫斯的小说《永生》中,描写了古罗马时期,一个寻找永生之河的冒险家,在沙漠中跋涉,终于来到了不死之人待过的山洞。在洞中,他见识了悬于半空石崖上富丽堂皇的宫殿迷宫,以及落后麻木食蛇为生的洞穴人。离开后,他才恍然大悟,原来落后冷漠的洞穴人便就是传说中的永生人。在约翰·保曼1974年的电影[萨杜斯]中,也讲述了一个相似的故事。在遥远的未来,人类已经退化,为了寻找上帝“萨杜斯”的真相,野蛮人扎德悄然潜入传说中的乌托邦,发现这里还生活着民主文明的上等人公社。生活在期间的人们不老不死,每天在无聊中荒废。
      长生不老,似乎是不同文化,不同代人的共通追求。在吴承恩的《西游记》中便有非常典型的描写,吃了唐僧肉便可长生不老,仿佛不死便可以有无限接近真神的属性。但一旦真正获得不死之躯,又会是怎样的呢?在[萨杜斯]的未来世界中,导演保曼所展示的,便就是这样一派毫无生气的天堂。人们靠着水晶进行民主投票,毫无自己的思想,很多人都得了怪病,没有思维,只能浑浑噩噩的游荡。对于他们来说,求死不能才是真正的恐怖。这时,扎德的出现,如西部片中的外来者一样,闯入社区,拯救社区,只是他最终却并没有独自一人悄然离去,而是永久打破了应有的秩序。
      导演约翰·保曼作为好莱坞体制外的独立者,一向对传统类型片模式不大感冒,他的电影总是会有一些超出电影的社会思考。在1967年的[步步惊魂]中,主人公一反传统复仇电影拔高主角,为观众寻找认同的套路(最近的[窃听风云Ⅱ]便是典型),将主人公沃克设定为只为金钱而不带任何情感的杀手。而在[萨杜斯]中,肖恩·康纳利也并非让观众痴痴怨怨的007式英雄,他所演绎的扎德,衣不遮体杀人如麻,完全没有一个英雄救世主的样子。除他以外,各色配角也行为古怪,思想怪异。正是这样完全架空的设定,让本片有了一种别样的真实观感。但也由于对体制的反叛,也导致了观众接受的困难,让本片在上映之初遭受骂名,直到几十年后才渐渐有些平反的意思。
      事实上,保曼在对生死问题的思索上,确实有些过于超前了,但换个角度来想,其实也不难理解。如若人类真的获得了永生,在知道自己永不会死的情况下,生命本身也失去了意义。有了死亡作为对照,生命才更显珍贵。在博尔赫斯的另一篇小说中,主角在南极冰原遇到了诸多永生的哲人,但永恒生命却让活者本身失去了意义,他们只能互相敲对方的脑袋取乐。无欲无求又无止境的生活,才是真正的荒诞。博尔赫斯这样写“永生是无足轻重的;除了人类之外,一切生物都能永生,因为它们不知道死亡是什么;永生的意识是神明、可怕、莫测高深。”在他看来,所有的事物都是轮回,充斥着因果报应,永生者看透这些,等待着报应的到来,成为了真正的虚无主义者。这种虚无,让死和生也变成了一样的状态。本片中出现的活死人,显然就是最佳验证。在拍摄[萨杜斯]之前,保曼正计划将托尔金的[指环王]搬上银幕,但由于资金问题却胎死腹中。但[萨杜斯]显然成了另一种托尔金式预言。永生一族对水晶的依靠,岂不正和伴随“魔戒”500年不死,但已心智退化的咕噜姆暗合。
      在弗洛伊德理论中,人的行为受两种本能驱使,一种是求死本能,而另一种便就是性本能。这两者在[萨杜斯]中都可能找到明显的展现。将自己的两种隐秘展现于众人,这点看来,保曼显然是位诚实的作者。扎德身上,同时拥有死亡和性的诱惑,是最本质人的代表。他一面杀戮,一面强暴,是真正的本我。而处于超我状态的伪神萨杜斯,则是需要被打破的神话。最终,扎德也做到了这点。在给乌托邦带来死亡的同时,他如同酒神一般也带来了性的狂欢。上等人,在长久的永生中,以将性视为禁区,是高度道德化的假人。他们宣言“阴茎是邪恶的,只有枪是正义的”。将性本能以杀戮的方式发泄,这点和阳痿者靠鞭打达到高潮也并无二致。在高度道德表象之下,内里却依然隐藏着不可压抑的欲望。长生不老,并不能让人成为创造万物之神明,只能让内心的欲望更加疯狂。
      片名[萨杜斯],来自于《绿野仙踪》,是将“The Wizard of Oz”这个“父之名”阉割之后的产物,这也顺应了萨杜斯代表的禁欲主义内核。我们的世界从诞生之日起,便需要不停的以旧换新。而这种繁衍,也建立在两种不同的生殖方式之上,重数量不重质量的无性繁殖显然是一种,每秒都可以分裂出上万个相似个体带到一段相同基因的永恒存在。而另一种,则就是我们进行的有性繁殖,不同的基因相互融合,虽然效率低下,但却功效显著,成功的让我们这样的高等生物成为了地球的主人。但归根结底,我们还是成了欲望的猎物。正如同扎德一样,他将性与欲散播开来,打败了无性繁殖的高等人。其实,不管有意还是无意,我们所有人都卷入了两种不同生殖方式间的斗争,而欲望则是生殖本能控制我们的武器。
      片尾,扎德与康索拉结婚生子,他也从只穿内裤的蛮荒欲望客体,变为了登堂入室,锦衣玉食的父权代表,一切如轮回般重新开始,最终新一代的人类重新繁殖,老一代的人,只剩白骨,性与死之下,所有的困局看似迎刃而解,但却永恒存在,未来也好,现在也罢,阳光之下,并无新事。

(原载于《看电影》天地街66号)

 短评

反乌托邦电影,所要表达的内容和揭露的现象远比《绿色食品》和《我不能死》(Logan's Run)都要来得彻底,充斥着无数的含沙射影;同时它也是当之无愧的邪典电影,比《异教徒》更前卫,这样的影片或许应该经过时间的沉淀才能渐露锋芒。

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两星半吧。追求所谓“哲学思考”的70年代低成本科幻片的惯常烂法。肖恩·康纳利胸毛全程抢镜。

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