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Z: A Politically Insightful Film

Posted on the 17 August 2012 by Haricharanpudipeddi @pudiharicharan
Z: A Politically Insightful Film

Movie: Z

Director: Costa-Gavras

Cast: Yves Montand, Irene Papas and Jean-Louis Trintignant

Rating: ****1/2

‘Z’ directed by Costa-Gavras is one of the best edge-of-the-seat political thrillers of all time based on the book of the same name by Vassilikos, inspired by the real story of the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis. Although there are several films in this genre before and after this film, however it was after Z, some of the other highly appreciated political thrillers were made. There are several films in the IMDB Top 250 list that don’t deserve the spot they currently hold but this is one film that truly deserves its spot.

In 2012, few months back to be precise, Dibakar Banerjee made Shanghai, a

Z: A Politically Insightful Film
Bollywood film which was inspired from Z, the novel. For people who’ve watched ‘Shanghai’ and are now planning to watch ‘Z’, here’s something that I want to bring to your notice. Please don’t compare both the films because they’re different in presentation and execution, though they were drawn out of the same novel.

In an indefinite era, nameless town of what appears to be Greece, guessing by the origin of the novel, a pacifist organization is planning to hold an anti-military rally. The leader of the organization, who’s to fly from the capital to deliver a speech, receives a life threatening call via an anonymous tip-off. Nevertheless, the rally takes place and at the end of it, the leader is run over by a kamikaze, and eventually passes away in the hospital. The cops close the case claiming everything to be a drunken accident but in reality it was a premeditated murder with the collaboration of police and other members of the government.

Z: A Politically Insightful Film
What ‘Z’ manages to do is hold you by your guts, with the help of an incisive narration and powerful execution of a story filled with undying suspense and deceit. Here, the truth is ignored, untruth is worshipped; honesty is questioned and dishonesty is rewarded. Costa-Gavras giftedly brings to light the unfolding of true events that lead to the fall of a democracy, which you may not experience as much when you read the novel. As a viewer you see that the truth in the film is brought to us through different eyes, in different perspective and by the time it reaches us, it’s so imprecise that in due course becomes fallacious. The characters in the film live in a world of uncertainty, not knowing which side to take in the fight for survival in the political uproar. Instead of Greek, the characters speak in French and are presented without the use of real names thus instantaneously wiping off all possible connection you may have with the novel.

The film races at the speed of a stallion, barring the initial few minutes. With ever

Z: A Politically Insightful Film
y minute, the tension permeates your skin and sucks you into the film to ensure you’re attention is unbroken till the last minute. The best part of this era, the 60s and 70s was that you could barely call anything artificial because most of it is real. The best examples can be highlighted in two instances in the film – the first one is the fight on the back of a pick-up truck and the second is a deadly car chase that almost kills one of the witnesses. Thanks to Raoul Coutard’s (Breathless, Jules and Jim) cinematography, these scenes will send chills up your spine and dazes you the core. Equally energetic and life-filling is Mikis Theodorakis’s (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Serpico) original score.

Z: A Politically Insightful Film
Costa-Gavras didn’t just reproduce the story from the novel instead made it so intense with his stimulating narration that every minute counts in the film. The suspense in the film is teasing and provokes you to step in to the shoes of one of the characters. In essence; Gavras’ succeeded in giving us one of its kind political thriller, seen never before. ‘Z’ was the first foreign film to be nominated for Best Picture.

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