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Z (The Criterion Collection)
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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 yet endowing 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 ›
From 1969, this political thriller stands up as a brilliantly crafted film, helped by an extraordinary cast, great editing, and a marvelous Mikis Theodorakis soundtrack.
What an amazing ensemble of actors ! Yves Montand is fabulous, also the beautiful Irene Papas, Charles Denner, Jacques Perrin, and so many more...but the real hero of this film is Jean-Lois Trintignant. He is magnificent, and the subtleties of his performance riveting.
I don't think you have to subscribe to the politics espoused in this film to appreciate its greatness. It stands as a work of art, and I think Costa-Gavras' finest film.
I hope DVD manufacturers will pick this up and turn it in to a collector's item. It is very much worth keeping even to show it to your grand children!
I have an older VHS version (when it first came out) but it has English subtitles in white, making it almost impossible to read at times. However, after seeing the movie about 20 times when it first came out and watching it many more times on video, I can pretty well understand what is going on.
I have read the book (still have the original paperback released when the movie came out) plus Theodorakis' soundtrack (written while he was under house arrest).
Extraordinary and timely film. Not to be missed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ripped off. Wanted this on DVD, but not available in English (only subtitles). So I purchased the streaming, since nowhere was an indication that it also was only in French w/... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Grannelle
It seems sort of silly to be responding to a review written ten years ago, but what the heck. Referring to the reviewer who said that the English language version was not... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tad Richards
boring and too political for me. although it is supposed to be critically acclaimed, it was not my cup of tea.Published 4 months ago by hjs
Z is a serious, captivating political thriller. It feels realistic because the dramatic tension draws from ruthlessness and conviction very plainly and directly stated. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rbrogan3
Great classic film touching on a subject that resonates in Greece to this day.Published 8 months ago by Paul Vandekar
This is a cold-war era soviet-inspired propaganda film. It's the fascists (the west-inclined elements) against the peace-loving population. Read morePublished 12 months ago by rwx