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Z


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106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film In An Excellent DVD Restoration
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...
Published on November 27, 2003 by Gary F. Taylor

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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's set the record straight.
The "experts" commenting here advise avoiding the English "DUBBED" version.
The ENGLISH VERSION was filmed in parallel with the french version (The use of french was necessitated to have it distributed in Europe as the original Greek would have limited draw.) The incident took place here in Thessaloniki Greece, where I live).
All the...
Published on February 9, 2004 by fw Bear


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106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Film In An Excellent DVD Restoration, November 27, 2003
This review is from: Z (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 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. 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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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Costa-Gavras' Masterpiece, February 6, 2001
By 
A. Hogan (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Z is a political thriller with few action scenes,none of the "thrills" associated with conevntional thrillers. The Murder takes place fairly early on,and it is obvious who is respnosible. The thrill is in the dogged investigation by an incorruptible magistrate{interesting comparison to Stones's JFK},which leads to the highest seats of government. Based on a terrific novel by Vassilis Vassilikos{and an excellent screenplay by Jorge Semprun},this tells the story of the murder of the Greek parliamentarian and doctor Gregory Lambrakis.That it was a political assasination is obvious,though the complicity is so multilayered that it appears that the truth will never come out. Yves Montand is ,as usual, excellent as Lambrakis [referred to as Z throughout the film.Z comes from the Greek verb zei, HE LIVES} Irene Pappas is his suffering wife{and widow}. Costa-Gavras travelled this territory often, {the Confession, Missing} though not with this brilliance. The editing is crsip,leading to the sense of breathlessness among the defendents. I will leave the ending to the viewer.This is probably the best political thriller that I have ever seen, and 31 years later,is till excellent,if not brilliant
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still a thrill, 30 years later, October 3, 2000
This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
It starts out by saying: "Any similarity to actual persons or events is deliberate" and goes on to tell an intricate, absorbing story.
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.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an Important Film, February 22, 2006
By 
Bill W (Spirgfield Va. USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Z (DVD)
"Z" was perhaps the first Foriegn film I remember really making an impression on me. Remember Martin L.King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated just a year or so before, so this film felt like it was real life! Yves Montand is outstanding as the opposition candidate who is assassinated by Thuggs who inturn are protected by government conspiracy. It is on a par with any Hollywood film of it time. The sound track music is unforgetable and is a perfect match to the drama.

This release is in french with english subtitles!

There is also a earlier, "above average English dub" that aired on TV and in a Laser Disc release that I would also recommend if you can find it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lithe and fierce... like a tiger, August 4, 2006
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This review is from: Z (DVD)
This is Costa-Gavras' masterpiece. It deservedly won two academy awards (Best Foreign Language Film, Best Film Editing) and was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, and Writing. In my opinion, this is one of the best ever foreign language films.

The cast is outstanding. Jean-Louis Trintignant is great as the deceptively quiet and unassuming investigator who doggedly persues the truth behind the political assassination of the left-wing minister (Yves Montand). The supporting cast does equally well, with Irene Pappas as the minister's devoted wife and Jacques Perrin as the photojournalist as stand-outs.

This is a political drama which moves along quickly and, as the conspiracy begins to unravel, takes on significant edge-of-the-seat atmosphere. The music track is second to none and promotes the film's intrigue. Altogether this is a great film which deserves its reputation. See it. Worth owning.

In short, the movie is "lithe and fierce... like a tiger".

;-)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that you will never forget, May 13, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was 22 when I saw the film in London. That was 1969, a year after the French students uprise in Paris and we were taking over buildings in universities. I was dazed by the film when it ended. The scene of which when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 also floated in my mind. This is a very very power film and you will feel you want to do something after you have seen it. The music by Theodorakis was just too good and it helped to strengthen what Costa-Gavra was trying to put across. The film came out at a right place and at a right time!
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!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, September 29, 2006
By 
Sheila Bloom "Norma" (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I have seen this movie untold number of times since it first came out. I first saw it in NYC in 1969 and it was the first movie where the audience applauded at the end. This was a time of activism on the part of the young people and even older people against racism and the war in Vietnam (unlike today where kids only care about their ipods, etc.) and this film hit a nerve. The Greeks, unlike Americans, have a long attention span and still hold a grudge against the American support of the dictatorship in Greece (so do I). To understand the present you must know the past and this is still an important picture. Just look at the present administration with its lies, deceptions, preemptive wars, and meddling in foreign affairs, mainly propping up corrupt and dirty leaders.

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.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's set the record straight., February 9, 2004
By 
This review is from: Z (DVD)
The "experts" commenting here advise avoiding the English "DUBBED" version.
The ENGLISH VERSION was filmed in parallel with the french version (The use of french was necessitated to have it distributed in Europe as the original Greek would have limited draw.) The incident took place here in Thessaloniki Greece, where I live).
All the performers were fluent in English and you can recognize their voices.
It was not "Dubbed" (watch their lips "expert").
Now those of you who know where the original English language version can be found, speak up.
It is an excellent film and deserves to be experienced. (Read the book.)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Z--he still lives!, January 26, 2004
This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The 1969 Oscar winner for best foreign film is based on the 1963 assassination of Greek communist politician and doctor Gregorio Lambrekis. The opening sequence of first the agriculture minister equating mildew with communism and the Greek chief of police advocating the indoctrination of the population to become healthy elements of society loyal to God and the crown instead of isms like socialism, anarchism, imperialism, or communism describes the stranglehold the right has in Greece.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is denied a hall for its meeting due to the hall owner threatened by right-wing elements so the peace people have no choice but to hold at the Employee Union Hall, with loudspeakers outside for the benefit of the crowd outside. The leader of the movement (Yves Montand) decides to carry on with the speech despite learning of a threat on his life. He finishes his speech and is crossing the square to demand the police quell the seething rioters when he is struck in the head from someone in the back of a lorry. He is operated on but dies. His death not only makes him a martyr among his supporters, but causes a coverup to ensue. A determined photojournalist and the inquest judge assigned to the case soon realize the extent of the conspiracy, a conspiracy that goes up to the top.
The journalist's relentless digging leads to identifying members of CROC, the Christian Royalist Organization against Communism, a secret society the cops use to keep order at parades. The leader of CROC says, "Abroad, some say make love, not war! We say, 'Make war on corruption and liberalism, and on indiscriminate liberty!'" Well, the liberty that was banned when the junta took over included pop music, intellectual books, and the letter "Z", which was the ancient Greek symbol for "he is alive."Basically, they are the counterdemonstrators, the agent provocateurs who beat up the peaceful disarmament people.
The dispassionate inquest judge is simply doing his job, wanting just the facts, but with each piece of evidence or testimony that comes, he realizes that an incident involving two drunks becomes a death due to a blow by a club, and then assassination. He is under pressure from the attorney general, who feels that a prolonged inquest gives the peace movement fuel for subversive action.
Criticized for being talky, Z is actually an effective, suspenseful political drama that is a snapshot of the times. The assassination of the senator mirrors that of JFK. Witnesses intimidated, killed, and guilty participants having doctored stories from their paymasters. One witness though, bravely tells his testimony from his hospital bed even though he has been beaten. A leading communist is chased down the streets by a car.
The Cold War paranoia and hysteria of anti-communism is presented here, taken to the extreme of equating disarmament with communism. And groups like CROC are still alive today. The CIA-sponsored KOPASSUS was behind the 1998 riots in Indonesia.
Contrast these speeches, first from the senator: "Why do our ideas provoke such violence? Why don't they like peace?... The other [groups] are nationalists used by the government and don't upset our Judas allies who betray us. We lack hospitals and doctors, [while] half the budget goes to military expenditures. ... A stockpile of A-bombs is equal to a ton of dynamite per person on Earth. They want to prevent us from reading the obvious conclusion based on the simple truths, but we will speak out. We serve the people and the people need the truth." As Greece was the father of democracy, one can only think, "Has Greece come to this?"
Director Costa-Gavras's searing indictment of the CIA-sponsored Greek military junta under the colonels from 1967 to 1973 is the prototype of political assassination thrillers, something that may have served as a model for Oliver Stone's JFK. Indeed, the opening disclaimer states that "any similarities to actual persons or events is deliberate." The bottom line is that the CIA, the extreme right, and the military-industrial complex is also blameworthy.
One of the more radical peace members says of his ailing leader "the brain's dead, but the heart's still beating. I won't quit," invoking the spirit of any movement fighting for peace and justice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A gripping political drama, September 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Z [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was 19 and it was 1970. Z was an incredibly important film in my life. In 1971, I spent a summer in Greece, holding my tongue, while Army officers in bars explained how they had been trained in the United States. I had my first experience in Greece of not being able to freely speak my mind. We Americans cherish our ability to mouth off in the local tavern, even if we can't do it at work. I make references to everyone being at the Bolshoi to this day. Incredibly powerful. Z. He lives.
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Z
Z by Costa-Gavras (DVD - 2002)
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