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Z (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, Charles Denner
  • Directors: Costa-Gavras
  • Writers: Costa-Gavras, Ben Barzman, Jorge Semprún, Vasilis Vasilikos
  • Producers: Jacques Perrin, Ahmed Rachedi, Eric Schlumberger
  • Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 27 2009
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IVDLH8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,415 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lidgren on Jan. 3 2010
Format: DVD
Costa-Gavras provides us with a film that echos the often the over-looked mood and spirit of life under the "Generals" in Greece during the 1960s. [The film was released in 1967.] Gregorios Lambrakis, a popular left-wing figure was killed in 1963 in Greece. "Z" is a fictionalized story of a journalist who digs for a the truth behind the death of an eerily similar victim in a fictitious country. I was rivetted by this film and quite surprised by the courage it took to create a film so obviously meant to criticize the Greek junta. Costa-Gavras took a great deal of "heat" from the Greek government. It did not appreciate his perceived political interference by directing and releasing "Z." ZZ: Masterworks Edition (Widescreen)Whistle Blower (Widescreen/Full Screen)Outstanding casting with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, Yves Montand and Irene Papas made this film very believable. The "Z" even has a profound meaning" "He lives."

In a time of incredible paranoia and fear, propogated by a police state apparatus with virtually no limits to its power - the ability of a few people with a desire and the courage to seek justice make a difference. Here this is no cliché. Greece was the birthplace of democracy. I find it poignant that some democratic protests in Greece in the 1960s are the cannonade launching "Z." Do not pass this by. Purchase this DVD!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Max W. Hauser on Oct. 14 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Constantin Costa-Gavras's breakthrough hit. A powerful (though choppy and polemical) drama based on the "Lambrakis affair" in Greece preceding the 1967 US-backed military coup there. Lambrakis, a popular leftist legislator (Yves Montand), is murdered, and evidence mounts of a conspiracy implicating police officials. Story gradually builds momentum and becomes compelling, aided by an outstanding Mikis Theodorakis score. This film appeared in the middle of the colonels' régime (1967-74), and people who had been in Greece told me at the time that it was dangerous there to talk about this film or the Vassilikos book it came from. Costa-Gavras later directed and sometimes also screenwrote other films with themes of political corruption and conspiracy: State of Siege (1973), Special Section (1975), Missing (1982). Z normally appears in the US in subtitled form; I urge skipping any English-dubbed version, if such even exists. Some films take better to dubbing than others. In this case the issue is not just the integrity of the work but the flavor of the experience. Z effectively evokes the pre-coup milieu of a semi-corrupt Mediterranean parliamentary monarchy (and theater of cold-war manipulations). The scenes would lose atmosphere, were the characters forced to mouth gringo English. (Beware also of a later, inferior set of English subtitle text that has appeared, not as alive as the language in the standard theatrical subtitles. In those originals, the catch phrase that trips up the witnesses in the investigation is "Like a tiger. Lithe and fierce, like a tiger.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
An excellent film that shows how unbalanced political 'balance' can become. It starts off very disconnected, almost as if it was a biology class lecture. Yet, as the film get's underway, there's flashbacks for the characters that help the viewer better understand the backgrounds and previous events. But, it's the viewer that must flashback to the front of the film to get the true gestalt of how the 'disease' is being controlled. The truly disturbing aspect is how this story possibly gives insight to real political assassinations happening around the world to this day. What starts off as 'orchestrated agitation' to keep the disease from becoming widespread, turns into a complex cancer at the heart of the central nervous system. And much like cancer, total eradication and cure is seldom ever seen. Simplistic, secluded, and sympathetic at first. A fight for fairness in the hierarchy of government, and an awareness of foreign influence impeding on national identity. Suddenly blossoming into a web covered rose that looks ugly within the bouquet. A marvelous, constantly moving, masterpiece of mayhem. As much as the viewer knows from the start, it's the alibi's, excuses, and defamation that quickly strips down the evidence. Much like a jigsaw puzzle that get's assembled, disturbed, reassembled, and then dismantled to go back into the box. What was it all for? Did anyone truly learn anything from it all?
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Format: 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.
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