When a pacifist opposition leader dies in hospital, an investigating magistrate uncovers a murder plot and a secret government organisation. Costa-Gavras thriller, shot in Algeria and based on a real incident.
Costa-Gavras's Z, winner of the 1970 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, is a classic political thriller, combining intrigue with raw emotional power. The story turns on the investigation of the assassination of a left-wing Greek politician (Yves Montand), and his government's attempts to cover up the murky circumstances. Montand receives death threats as he prepares to give a speech condemning the government, and is then run down in front of numerous witnesses. Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist) plays the judge assigned to the investigation, who gradually discovers how far the state will go to rid itself of political opposition. As he is warned off the case by his superiors, the judge becomes even more determined to discover the truth, no matter where it might lead. Costa-Gavras (Missing, Mad City) is in familiar territory here, but no one handles this type of material better. Z is a classic of political intrigue and social consciousness. --Robert Lane
Top Customer Reviews
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".
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great film. Very moving indeed. Now about the seller: Long postage, almost 3 weeks a little disappointed ...Published 2 months ago by Kayv
I cannot believe such as exellent film is not more widely available. The DVD includes English subtitles but has no menu; this is a very basic presentation, however, the picture... Read morePublished 4 months ago by M Haque
It would have been good to know that the version of this French film had only Spanish subtitles, not English, and therefore was entirely useless to me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Although Greek-French film-maker Costa-Gavras’ intricate political thriller from 1969 might initially appear rather dated these days, the film’s mix of fast-moving plot, parodying... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Keith M
A British critic, Ian Cameron, summed up this acclaimed movie perfectly when he said it would be best enjoyed by those who liked to hiss the baddies, cheer the goodies and then... Read morePublished 11 months ago by gustavus
Fantastic film, creates an atmosphere of the times, not just a good story.
Very engaging and intelligent. I am so glad I discovered it.