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Z (The Criterion Collection)

Yves Montand , Irene Papas , Costa-Gavras    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Political Thriller! 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I first saw this film in 1970 when I was a college student. In 2004, it retains its relevance to me as an Amercian. A few years after this film was released, the CIA intervened in Chile when they assisted in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Communist president. Sometime before that the U.S. government had enabled the Shah of Iran to come to power in that country. In the 1980s, the U.S. supported insurgents against another democratically-elected Communist in Central America. Now the U.S. has militarily overthrown the leader of Iraq, is maintaining an occupation force in that nation, and is seeking to establish a new government there. So this movie -- which was about a 1962 military coup in Greece -- has significant meaning for Americans. This is not a particularly well-made film technically. There are several scenes where cameras and the boom are visible. The script is not very compelling, either. The actors are European veterans and the emotional power is great, leading to an unforgettable conclusion that violates the sensibilities of people that love freedom and democracy. These are the reasons, in my opinion, that this film won an Academy Award and resonated with the American intelligentsia. "Z" is not pleasant viewing but is an antidote to airheadedness in a time when most Americans are more concerned with liposuction, botox injections and push-up bras than national intervention in other nations.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Z--he still lives! Jan. 26 2004
Format: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!
Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars Let's set the record straight. Feb. 9 2004
By fw Bear
Format: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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Most recent customer reviews
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... Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2003 by Gary F. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, Fast Paced Thriller
Watching Z reminds the viewer of a train wreck. Facts, acting, storyline, plot, and intrigue are all thrown together into one strange conglomerate of film. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2002 by P
4.0 out of 5 stars Costa-Gavras's breakthrough drama
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... Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2002 by Max W. Hauser
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that you will never forget
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. Read more
Published on May 13 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustration
Yves Montand's character is murdered in front of several hundred people and most of the film is spent watching the judge trying to get to the bottom of it. Read more
Published on March 19 2001 by Richard English
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked JFK? You'll love Z.
The other reviews have got things covered. Get this film! Don't forget to watch for some of the humour :)
"They asked if I was a commie.." "Are you? Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2001 by Jerry K
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-see movie for those who are politically aware
This movie was first released in 1969, but I didn't see it until 1973--right in the middle of the Watergate scandal. The parallels were almost too obvious for anyone to miss! Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2001 by Robin B. Forman
5.0 out of 5 stars Costa-Gavras' Masterpiece
Z is a political thriller with few action scenes,none of the "thrills" associated with conevntional thrillers. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2001 by A. Hogan
5.0 out of 5 stars still a thrill, 30 years later
It starts out by saying: "Any similarity to actual persons or events is deliberate" and goes on to tell an intricate, absorbing story. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2000 by Alejandra Vernon
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