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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic from 1969
I still remember the first time I saw this film, magnificent.

Z is a 1969 French language political thriller directed by Costa Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Sempr¨²n, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek...
Published on 9 Jun. 2011 by Gerry McCaffrey

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dear Sirs, Let's hope this film does not depict ...
Dear Sirs,

Let's hope this film does not depict the near future in Greece. A marvellous film.

Regards,

Hilkka
Published 2 months ago by Hilkka Rissanen


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic from 1969, 9 Jun. 2011
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I still remember the first time I saw this film, magnificent.

Z is a 1969 French language political thriller directed by Costa Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Sempr¨²n, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its downbeat ending, the film captures the outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

Z stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the investigating magistrate (an analogue of Christos Sartzetakis, who 22 years later was appointed President of Greece by democratically-elected parliamentarians). International stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas also appear, but despite their star billing have very little screen time compared to the other principals. Jacques Perrin, who co-produced, plays a key role. The film's title refers to the popular Greek protest slogan "¦¦¦Å¦É", meaning "he (Lambrakis) lives".

Awesome!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "He is alive", 21 Dec. 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The problem with revolutionary pieces of political cinema is that in retrospect they can appear dated and simplistic when compared to the more sophisticated films that follow them. Costa-Gavras' influential political thriller does suffer from that problem a little at times, but if diminished it is still powerful and effective stuff.

Dealing with the assassination of Montand's charismatic political opponent of a regime that is run by the military in all but name (unidentified in the film, it is clearly Greece under the colonels - among the list of things banned by the movie's regime is 'la musique populaire (M. Theodorakis)'. The film's composer was actually under house arrest at the time). The first half of the film covers his arrival and the events leading up to his death at a sabotaged political rally, the second following two parallel investigations into the hows and whys, that of Jean-Louis Trintignant's honest Attorney and co-producer Jacques Perrin's photo-journalist.

The film is dialogue heavy (with the honourable exception of Irene Papas, who, as in Zorba the Greek, remains almost mute throughout) and lacks the more effective investigative construction of Missing. It works against the film that we know what has happened - and more importantly, how - so early, since the result of Trintignant's investigation seems a foregone conclusion. It would perhaps have been much more effective if we had seen the various participants very different accounts of events first to draw our own conclusions alongside his.

Characterisation is also a sporadic weak point: while those on the sides of the angels all give good performances, only the charismatic Yves Montand seems to be a person we can care about rather than a political or moral position while the military figures are too clearly set up just to be knocked down and veer towards the comic book. Yet it retains an urgency and outrage that ensures that it still commands the attention. If not the masterpiece it was hailed as on its first appearance, it's certainly an excellent film and remains an important landmark in political cinema.

Criterion's impressive Region 1 NTSC DVD transfer is a big step up from the standards conversion release Koch Lorber put out a few years ago, though it sadly loses Costa-Gavras' audio commentary from that version, replacing it with on from Peter Cowie, but it goes some to compensating by including new interviews with Costa-Gavras and Raoul Coutard (who has a cameo as the doctor who operates on Montand) as well as archive interviews with Costa-Gavras, Jacques Perrin, Pierre Dux, Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant and novelist Vassilis Vassilikos, the original theatrical trailer and a booklet.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film in Excellent DVD Restoration, 28 Nov. 2003
By 
Gary F. Taylor "GFT" (Biloxi, MS USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Z. [DVD] [1969] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Although it is seldom seen today, in 1970 Constantin Costa-Gavras' "Z" picked up both the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Picture and an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film. In the wake of the John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations of the 1960s and fueled by the later Watergate scandal, the film had tremendous resonance with American audiences, becoming one of the highest grossing foreign language films ever released in that market.
Based on the novel by Vassilis Vassilikos, which was itself based on the 1966 "Lambrakis Affair" in Greece, "Z" is at once a political thriller and satire. Set in an unnamed nation, it presents a politician who is strongly critical of American and Russian nuclear build up and his nation's participation in it. Denounced by the status quo as a communist, he is met with civic obstruction when he arrives to give a speech and afterward is struck down and killed by a speeding truck in the streets. A drunk driving accident, according to local officials. An assassination, according to his entourage.
Although the film has a somewhat slow and uncertain build, once fully underway it becomes a rapid-fire series of sharply edited scenes in which the sloppy assassination plot is unraveled by a dispassionate magistrate sent to conduct an investigation--an investigation plagued by assaults on witnesses and civic cover-up. But in such a corrupt society, can the full truth ever be known?
Director Costa-Gavras walks a very fine line here, presenting the characters as archetypes but endowing them with enough human emotion to engage our interests and sympathies. And the cast is remarkable, with Yves Montond, Irene Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant particularly notable. The script is at once chilling and covertly comic, jeering at officialdom around the corners of its more serious business, and the overall look of the film--particularly in the violent crowd scenes--is truly memorable.
The film has been restored to a pristine condition in its original widescreen and the DVD offers a number of language subtitles (including English) in easy-to-read yellow script. Bonus features are slight, but include the original trailer, samples of restoration work, and an extremely interesting conversation between novelist Vassilikos and director Costa-Gavras. Consta-Gravas also offers an audio-commentary--in French, which will be frustrating for those who (like me) do not speak the language.
Although some viewers may not even notice the satirical tone of the film, and while some will be put off by its distinctly liberal slant, I think most viewers--including those who don't normally care for foreign film--will find "Z" a fascinating ride, particularly if they enjoyed the likes of JFK or THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Time may have dimmed the origins of the piece, but sadly the subject of governmental corruption and the mendacity of powerbrokers remains as timely as ever.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant - sadly, 17 Feb. 2013
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This powerful political thriller has lost none of its impact - or relevance, even after nearly 45 years.

Based on a true story of political assassination in Greece, its events anticipates the political coup by Greek generals that followed. It even uses satire to ridicule the police, themselves responsible for the murder of a popular, left-wing Greek Deputy.

Military coups are often closer than one thinks, even in well established democracies. This great film by Costa-Gavras should still give us all pause for thought.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant political film...we need more today, 22 April 2013
By 
Nabil Shaban (UK) - See all my reviews
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"Z" was the first ever political movie I ever saw...and it made me realise how important political films were. Great acting and fantastic music. I have no problem with the so-called "liberal" slant of the film, because I am a Communist and proud of my humane, egalitarian left-wing politics. In fact, I do not like the American use of the word "liberal" for socialist / communist". "Liberals" in Britan, in my view can't make up their mind whether they are left-wing or right-wing. Pretty wet, though in the US, liberals are seen as Democrats, who in my opinion are still too reactionary and right-wing for my liking. In fact, there is no left-wing in America...just different shades of Blue. Another film by Costa-Gavros responsible for forming my politics, and my dislike of the CIA and Pentagon's interference in the governments of other countries, was "Missing"Missing [DVD] (1982). Neither should we forget "Salvador" Salvador--Special Edition [DVD], "Under Fire" Under Fire [DVD].
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real life political class war in Greece, 23 May 2007
This review is from: Z. [DVD] [1969] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have watched the film first in a film festival. If the festival showed this film only it would be enough. Later I have read the book also. The book is written by Greek writer Vasilius. The political environment is in Greece but same everywhere in the world. The left is always chased and harassed. The aggressors are organized illegally but receive police and government shelters. Those who try to investigate the events in an unprejudiced way are either bought or sacked or killed in the way. The film is a hit! All star cast deserves all the applause, also praise to Costa Gavras.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent video and audio quality for a political cinema masterpiece, 31 Dec. 2014
By 
Elleppi (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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First of all: the dvd quality is stunning. playing it through a BD player on a 42" tv, it almost looks like a Blu Ray.
Definitely worth the excellent cinematography, visual style and athmosphere of the film. A film that's political, nervous, fragmented in its narrative style yet so good to look at, like many italian films from 1960/70 which Z was largely influenced by. Films like those directed by Francesco Rosi and Elio Petri, inspired by a deep, provocative and angry political view yet so brilliant in their storytelling and capable to catch an average audience attention. Z is like that, brilliant and cruel at the same time, oassionate and cold in its depiction and analysys of political dynamics and human ones, showing the ideology behind a coup d'etat and also observing how people involved act like animals, not in a judjemental way, but like we're watching beasts in a cage. See, for example, the fighting scenes or the attacks: people act unnaturally if you look at them like normal people, to the point that some scene are almost surreal. .
All the cast does its best, but Trintignant, as usual, sticks out with a great performance of underacting and understatement, this time in an unusual role: not one of his bad and mediocre guys roles, but a quiet and firm state officer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dear Sirs, Let's hope this film does not depict ..., 4 Mar. 2015
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Dear Sirs,

Let's hope this film does not depict the near future in Greece. A marvellous film.

Regards,

Hilkka
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the Bird Man, 14 July 2014
Compelling, very well-constructed, very clearly-plotted and written to ensure its broadly libertarian, democratic (appropriate for 'unnamed' Greece) ethos is persuasively drawn. An all-star Euro-cast pretty faultlessly convinces. You can even forgive the bits of comic mockery of the banal and preening (but dangerous) generals with their chests full of medals. Begins a bit like The Battle of Algiers promising to be even-handed as the 'leftists' debate action or pacifism, but, perhaps thankfully, settles down into a skewering of the corruption, police-stateism and inequality at the root of the problem. Doesn't aim to blame America or USSR but focuses on the Greek 'here and now'. I'd not seen it before, but the influence on 'All the Presidents Men' especially, and all the US paranoidal thrillers of the early 70s is clear. Unlike many a 'thriller', keeps going right to the end with its 'nouvelle vague' inspired finale. If you've not seen it, definitely worth "getting to see" 'somewhere'. Lastly I like the way that Costa-Gavras clearly sees the Yves Montand hero politician as flawed too. Trintignant is the humourless hero-judge workaholic for justice. A very Gallic and immoveable alternative to 'Woodstein's' excitability.
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4.0 out of 5 stars looking back, 25 Mar. 2014
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I remember this film from it's original release so it was very interesting to look at it again. It's very much of it's time but still a gripping thriller
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Z. [DVD] [1969] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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