Posted on August 9, 2011
Movie Review: ZPG Zero Population Growth
This post is a part of Scifi Month.
When I was a child the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy, barf) not only used to play those completely fun, in a different way, made for TV monster of the week movies, they also played lesser known, older films. ZPG stands out in my mind as one of the most intriguing. I remember seeing it and thinking that it was disturbing, campy and interesting. I finally managed to rewatch it recently and it’s still all of those things.
ZPG was filmed in 1971 and released in 1972 so it’s a very 70s (jumpsuits and all) version of the future. I recall the now defunct Disney’s Horizons when I visited there in the mid ’90s as totally reminding me of this movie (it was the early ’80s vision of the future).
ZPG’s main plot line concerns the title, zero population growth, which is how a country limits the population when it becomes too great to sustain. Though the film is billed as a British science fiction film it was shot in Denmark. There is a very aristocratic British feel to the film but most of the characters do not speak with a British accent.
The exact date of the future depicted in ZPG is unclear. The beginning mentions a 30 year ban on having children but they don’t say what year it is and then the film picks up about 8 years after that. You get the feel that the film is supposed to be set far ahead from the 1970s but because they were in the 70s that is what is constantly referenced.
Babies are marked with this blacklight head tattoo when they are born so there isn’t a way to get away with just having a kid and saying that he or she is a certain age. So what happens if they find out that is exactly what you did? I’m glad you asked because they fucking gas your entire family in this thing.
The film focuses on Russ McNeil and his wife Carol McNeil who work in a museum that displays all of the things that no longer exist in the current smog filled, baby scarce present. They are part of the swinging ’70s dinner date display.
If you are feeling a little blue about this state of affairs you can call your psychiatrist on your home video phone. He gives out superb advice that includes watching porn (totally reminded me of THX 1138) and buying these creepy robot children to satisfy that mothering urge.
Plus they have a totally personalized Home Shopping Network.
As you can imagine his wife is not satisfied and decides that she will keep her baby. So she hides in the basement for 9 months and they say that she left him. It makes it really hard for him to fight off her friend, since they had been swingers before. When he needs to learn how to deliver a baby he just goes to this modern library with video machines that you can learn things on. Of course learning about childbirth is illegal but he has a great cover and gets to act like this.
Well when their friends find out about that baby they decide that they should all just share it. I mean they were all sharing each other prior to that anyway. So why not?