Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Z [1969]


The movie Z, which begins with the cheeky faux-disclaimer from its director Costa-Gavras that the events depicted in it aren’t coincidental or accidental, but intentional, remains as one of the most overtly and unapologetically political films made in recent memory. Though he used fictitious names for the characters and didn’t provide a name for the place, Costa-Gravas was in essence recreating the events surrounding the assassination of charismatic Leftist Greek leader Gregoris Lambrakis (Yves Montand) by the right-wing junta. The government complicity, and the unraveling of the state-sponsored conspiracy by an implacable mid-ranking magistrate (played with stoic fierceness by Jean-Louis Trintignant) and a seemingly opportunist photojournalist (Jacques Perrin), formed the crux of the storyline. The brilliantly composed, hyper-kinetic thriller, with the narrative moving at a pulsating pace and comprising of a number of brilliantly executed sequences (including an exciting chase scene), would provide for visceral and a thoroughly captivating watch even for viewers who aren’t politically inclined or aware of the events on which it was based, thanks to the excellent pacing, editing and suspense buildup; but the theme, which was one of political intrigue, paranoia and persecution against freedoms of speech and expression, made for a deeply cautionary tale against Orwellian States, and hence would appeal strongly to the discerning viewers, more so given the era of its release when mistrust towards governments was at its peak. The epilogue, narrated matter-of-factly, was both satirical and disturbing.




 




Director: Costa-Gavras
Genre: Thriller/Political Thriller
Language: French
Country: France/Algeria

3 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

It's surely a riveting, pulsating and satirical film, and while some will make claim it's dated, it holds sway to this very day. Few may even realize it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture in 1969, a year when MIDNIGHT COWBOY ultimately took the prize. Yes, the pacing, suspense and tension are deafening and one doesn't need to be politically attuned.

Excellent capsule piece here!

Sam Juliano said...

It's surely a riveting, pulsating and satirical film, and while some will make claim it's dated, it holds sway to this very day. Few may even realize it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture in 1969, a year when MIDNIGHT COWBOY ultimately took the prize. Yes, the pacing, suspense and tension are deafening and one doesn't need to be politically attuned.

Excellent capsule piece here!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Sam. Well, I didn't find it dated at all. In fact, not only did I find the content really relevant, but also the thrill-quotient of the film really high. Watching it was really such a visceral as well as cerebral experience for me.

Yes, I'd read that this had been nominated for both the Best Picture & Best Foreign Film, though it eventually won the latter award. Well, losing out to Midnight Cowboy can't be a shame for any film as that was and still remains an iconic film on urban alienation & disillusionment.