Logan’s Run (1976) Dir. Michael Anderson
Once upon a time, there was a domed society where only the young and the beautiful lived. They spent their time on having fun, pleasure, and sex. They never had anything to worry about. There was only one catch. When each of them reached the age of 30, they had to undergo a process of renewal. But that was not the catch. What they didn’t know was there was no renewal, only death.
Logan (Michael York) is a young and bright sandman – a kind of guard or soldier who catches runners (those who refuse to undergo renewal). He does not understand why anyone would want to run. One day he terminates a runner with an ankh necklace. When he starts investigating it, he finds out there is a movement of people believing there is an outside world. He’s being chosen by the computer to look into the case. He pretends he wants to run too, and with a little help from a very pretty friend (Jenny Agutter) he finds a way out of the domed city.
Logan’s story is not a story of a political coup. He never intends to throw down the system. We don’t really know who built the city, whose idea it was to create a society of people under 30, and who is controlling it. There isn’t one president or evil ruler. All orders and interrogations come from the computer, and people simply follow them without questioning. When we think of it, it was the computer who ordered Logan to run and find out what was outside the city. Could it be the computer didn’t predict it would lead to the city’s demise? Could it be it is the opposite? The computer did, in fact, predict it and let it happen.
Logan and Jessica are like children. Once they break out of the maternal womb – the domed city — they take their first steps in the real world. They touch, feel, smell, taste, hear, and see everything for the first time. They are amazed by the warm sun or furry kittens. They also learn new concepts such as love. They don’t understand what it is to be a beloved husband or wife. They do not fathom the idea of spending life together. The sole purpose of their short lives is to give in to hedonism and never-ending pleasure. Once they learn all that, they welcome it. They actually look forward to getting old and having wrinkles. The sugarcoated picture perfect world they lived in becomes phony and artificial. It appears that people can enjoy an ongoing fun only up to a certain point in their lives. The risk of them getting bored and wanting more from life is cautiously avoided by annihilating them at 30. In the end, the city falls. People are curious and go outside. They prefer the real life with all its imperfections, struggles, and the old age, to the hermetic and restrictive city of pleasure. Only then can they feel they are truly alive.
Long days, pleasant nights,