French Language with optional English, Spanish and German subtitles.
Special Features include:
Commentary Track with Costa-Gavras
Once upon a time a little French film shot in Algeria by a Greek director became a massive international hit, winning a bunch of awards including a couple of Oscars. Z may actually be left wing propaganda, but it plays brilliantly as a fast paced piece of suspense pulp. Oh the 1960s! What an amazing time for filmmakers and film watching, you were. In the docu realism tradition of The Battle Of Algiers, the unnamed country of Z may look a lot like Greece or even Italy, but it could anywhere. The shooting at Kent State was just two years away, and much of the world appeared to be in political turmoil. Z plays like a "how to" guide for both sides: how to start a left-wing revolution and, for the people in charge of keeping the status quo, how to squash it.
Z opens with a title card reading, "Any resemblance to real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is INTENTIONAL." This tells you that director Costa-Gavras is willing to wear his politics (or his bias) on his sleeve. The military dictators are worried about political protests from “beatniks” and foreigners, and they commit to shutting down any outside agitation. As a left wing political leader known as both Deputy and Z (the all-time great French actor Yves Montand) prepares for a rally for nuclear disarmament, while the Russian ballet performs across the street, Government thugs carrying bats continue to harass and beat his supporters. Trying to cross the street the Deputy is walloped by a guy with a baseball bat - though fake witnesses say a drunk driver hit him - he sustains injuries that eventually kill him.
His grieving widow (the great Greek actress Irene Papas) comes to town to help keep the cause alive. Meanwhile an Inspector (another major French great, Jean-Louis Trintignant) looks into the case; though the government pushes him to cover up their crimes, he proves to be dedicated to truth as he continues to dig further. Will he have the nerve to bring down his superiors (a la Watergate)? Or will this just be another case of the Government easily shutting down its opposition?
For such an overtly political film, Z is still an exciting thrill ride. It’s aided by a very cool '60s vibe Euro score by Mikis Theodorakis (Zorba The Greek). Also, though there is much talk the film seems to move briskly thanks to the carefully crafted editing by Fran