ZPG: Zero Population Growth
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People have to wear masks to walk anywhere and life is managed electronically in too many ways, reducing the individual to cogs, but now the state has decided that there are too many people and childbirth is illegal. It is also punishable by death. One couple (Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin) try to follow this law, one that people help the state enforce by harassing and beating anyone they catch with a real baby. The state offers sick robotic ones (you have to see to believe) in place of the real thing, but Carol (Chaplin) cannot take it anymore. She becomes pregnant and they do what they can do to hide it.
No one suspects at first, including their neighbors (Diane Cilento, Don Gordon) who are supposed to be their friends, but they will only be able to keep things secret so long before either the state and those brainwashed by them to hate and kill them or they can find a way to find asylum and get to another part of the decimated planet where they can live in peace and raise their child. This is a dark work that some will have a hard time handling, arriving the same year as A Clockwork Orange and THX-1138 (the one before Lucas digitized it), but it is worthy of those classics and deserves to be rediscovered as the genre classic it is. [...]
For all intents and purposes, you could consider this a Horror film and a political one, the later of which might be the reason it was out of circulation for so long. But now, the film is finally available to be rediscovered and is strongly recommended for all serious film fans.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad for its age, the elements are in decent shape, but this is still a little softer than one would like and though color can be consistent, depth is also compromised. The stocks used are EastmanColor and the British labs and locations add to the sense of visual darkness in profound ways. Director of Photography Michael Reed, B.S.C., is known for his work on British TV (The Saint, The New Avengers) as well as for the Hammer Studios and on the James Bond classic On her Majesty s Secret Service. He brought, along with Mikael Solomon on some shots, create a dark, dense atmosphere that is intentionally claustrophobic and creates the film s own cold, inescapable world. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is compressed a bit, but is still audible and Johnathan Hodge s score is a big plus. There are sadly no extras. --Nicholas Sheffo of FulvueDrive-In.com
Top Customer Reviews
In the world of Z.P.G., people spend their free time going to museums where they can see stuffed house pets, demonstrations of how gasoline was used to fuel vehicles, and films of forgotten relics like lakes and streams. Deprived of children, they also turn to technology for comfort. We first meet Russell McNeil (Oliver Reed, displaying none of his usual screen presence) and his wife Carol (Geraldine Chaplin) at Baby Land, a retail store where adults buy surrogate robot children that are creepy as heck as they slowly amble across the floor chanting, "You're my mummy!"
And while births are forbidden, that doesn't mean sex is discouraged. The government even passes out pornography, and state-funded psychiatrists are on call to encourage good behavior. Unfortunately, post-coitus a woman must check for conception, and she presses a handy-dandy "abort" button if such a misfortune has taken place. Kind of takes the fun out of it.
Eventually Carol can't take it anymore, and she insists on having a child. She's surprised by how supportive Russell is. They come up with an elaborate scheme to hide the child, keeping Carol in a concealed room like Anne Frank.Read more ›
I loved the staging and the sets, right down to the funky white (read for sterile) outfits and the sociological fly on the wall insight into the lives of the two protagonists desperate to enrich their seemingly emtpy lives/failing relationship by breaking the ultimate taboo. I guess in many ways I was primed for this kind of thing by reading lots of Ray Bradbury growing up and I adored the stark funky realism of the whole gas and curfew thing!
Let me simply say that if you have an Arty eye towards Sci-Fi and the sociological, loved films like Soylent Green and Farenheit 451 then this movie will not dissapoint you! I loved it and I think *getting it* is what this movie requires from the viewer.
The opening depicts an authoritarian government, apparently global, announcing a decision of how to deal with the crisis of overcrowding, depleted resources, pollution and so forth which were so taken for granted as defining our future that no further explanation was necessary to audiences of 1971. The government decides to reject alternatives such as mass sterilization and "euthanasia" (mass murder), in favor of simply outlawing additional births (for 30 years). Why this was chosen is never discussed, but it sets up the plot and our heroes.
Science fiction enthusiasts won't be impressed with the hardware (government announcements, for instance, are made via flying loudspeaker rather than any kind of broadcast). Homes are equipped with some kind of automatic abortion machine, which cleanly does its job via some sort of invisible rays. At least they don't sugar-coat it, as the button is indeed labeled "abortion."
For a world supposedly suffering overpopulation, the one shown is curiously uncrowded. Couldn't the producer hire enough extras? Where are the crowds?!
One interesting thought the movie puts forth, which never quite occurred to me before, is that in such a world where people are considered a blight, medical cures might actually be unwelcome, as they compound the "problem" by helping keep people alive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Of course, seen many years after its production, it seems a bit trite. However, the issues of overpopulation, pollution, and declining resources remain as relevant today as those... Read morePublished 5 months ago by GreenJim
The script could of been written better. It did have some interesting scenes that could of been developed better. One was where a doll said "Ma ma, I want my mama. Read morePublished 10 months ago by jackiepapertracer
Not bad for a retro-future film, kind of done in the same vein as Soylent Green (although SG was the more superior film production-wise). Read morePublished 11 months ago by A. Wright
after excitingly awaiting the movie only to find out its not my region code so very very disappointed perhaps for novices like me you could make us aware that even though we... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Joanne chiementon
many years i have been with my "better-half" not sure why but finally she mentions this movie ZPG. never a word till recently; 4 sum reason NOW she HAS 2 HAVE it !!! Read morePublished 16 months ago by gary greg triggell
ZPG the movie has always been in my thoughts which left an impression and as I became older it was the correct time to view it again with a better understanding despite the special... Read morePublished on June 6, 2014 by Mitchell A. Walker
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