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In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by ... See full summary »
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Charles Le Clainche,
In a mid-sized metropolis (population 500,000) in a right-wing military led country, a pacifist organization, which supports the opposition party in the government, is planning on holding an anti-military, nuclear disarmament rally. The organization's charismatic leader - the deputy - is scheduled to arrive in the town from the capital the day of the rally. Beyond the problems arranging the rally due to the probable incitement of violence at such a rally, the organization learns of an unconfirmed report that there will be an attempt on the deputy's life. The rally does happen, after which a three-wheeled kamikaze runs over the deputy, who eventually passes away from his injuries. The official report is that the incident was a drunken accident. In reality, the deputy's death was murder orchestrated by the secret police, the general for who likens the pacifist organization to mildew killing off agricultural crops. A magistrate is assigned to the case. Although he does have political ... Written by
First and foremost, it is a true story. It's the story of the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, that eventually led to the military junta. Every time I see it, it gives me the chills. Since Z was released while the junta was still in power, it was banned in Greece for several years. After the fall of the military junta, Z was worshiped, although we saw it on TV much later in order to avoid stirring passions. In terms of the plot, if you're not Greek, it's quite possible you might be left with many unanswered questions, but, in general, it is an accurate description of Greece during that era.
While Vassilikos' novel (written in 1966) has driven him to exile from 1967, Theodorakis was still in Greece under surveillance and managed to write his excellent score secretly.
Costa-Gavras gives us a top-class fast paced direction which hasn't aged even today, although I'm sure the Oscar was as much a political decision as a purely artistic one. What is truly spot-on is the casting. Both Montand and Trintignant excel, but even minor roles like Vago and Yago are portrayed in an extremely realistic way. My small objection would be Irene Papas staying near-silent throughout the movie. Although her talent allows her to pull it off with class, I really didn't understand why she was not supposed to talk.
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