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5.0 2
Director: Costa-Gavras

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


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Z is one of the most politically insightful films ever made, exposing government hypocrisy and cover-up in the wake of a political assassination. Zei (Yves Montand) is a scientist who is scheduled to give a speech against the use of the atomic bomb. On the way to the event, he is attacked outside the auditorium by a group of right-wing extremists with political


Z is one of the most politically insightful films ever made, exposing government hypocrisy and cover-up in the wake of a political assassination. Zei (Yves Montand) is a scientist who is scheduled to give a speech against the use of the atomic bomb. On the way to the event, he is attacked outside the auditorium by a group of right-wing extremists with political ties to the government as the police stand by and do nothing to intervene. He recovers long enough to make the speech but is later clubbed again and must undergo several surgeries, then dies during one of the procedures. A newspaper reporter finds a witness to the event and a judge willing to hear the case despite government protests. The ensuing trial reveals a government conspiracy, but the results of the trial are thrown out when a new government is formed by a military coup, which results in the intolerance that outlaws long hair, the Beatles, and any peaceful protests. Director Costa-Gavras used actual trial transcripts of the investigation into the May 22, 1963, assassination of Greek pacifist leader Gregoris Lambrakis, which proved a government conspiracy in his death. Yves Montand gives the best dramatic performance of his life, and Irene Papas stars as his wife, Helena. Z won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film of 1969, was 14th in terms of box-office success, and hit an international nerve in the age of social unrest, government cover-up, and political assassinations. All those involved worked on the film for a reduced rate with an option for royalties based on earnings at the theater window. The letter Z in the Greek alphabet means "he is alive."

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Karen Backstein
In his first foray into political drama, Greek director Costa-Gavras established himself as the master of the form with 1969's Z, a frenetic Oscar-winner powered by a gripping mix of conspiracy, action, brutality and heroism. Based on a novel by Vassilis Vassilios, Z mines the events that led up to Greece's military coup d'état and overthrow of its democratic government in 1966. Pulsing music and nervous energy create a suspenseful, danger-suffused atmosphere that reaches its violent apex when thugs assassinate a popular left-wing opposition leader during an anti-nuclear rally. A crusading journalist works with a highly principled prosecutor to untangle the web of deceit surrounding the killing and they find that the conspiracy reaches the highest levels of government. The tension never lets up as Costa-Gavras' finale captures both the brutal horror of fascism and the ardent fires of resistance. A refreshing mix of American thriller and heady politics helped win Z the 1969 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Turning the events preceding the 1960s military junta in Greece into a kinetic political thriller, Costa-Gavras' Z (1969) is a cinematically compelling argument against state repression. In a story based on the assassination of pacifist Gregoris Lambrakis, Greek expatriate Costa-Gavras' French New Wave techniques create visual energy and documentary immediacy while humanizing the Lambrakis analogue (Yves Montand) and his wife (Irene Papas). Cinematographer Raoul Coutard's moving camera and location shooting pump up suspense as key witnesses are pursued by mysterious thugs; newsreel-style crowd scenes become threateningly chaotic, emphasizing the government's collusion in the assassination. The couple's flash-cut memories of their married life emphasize the personal loss inflicted in the name of "democracy." Despite the film's basis in fact, Costa-Gavras neither identifies the country nor gives names to the main characters, turning the story into a universal warning against the rise of totalitarianism. An international hit (though banned in Greece), and all the more relevant amid late-'60s cultural upheavals in the U.S. and France, Z won awards as Best Film of the Year from both the National and New York film critics groups and became the first film nominated for Oscars as both Best Picture and Best Foreign-Language Film. It won the latter, along with Best Editing.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
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Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard; Audio commentary featuring film historian Peter Cowie; New interviews with director Costa-Gavras and Coutard; Archival interviews with Costa-Gavras; producer-actor Jacques Perrin; actors Pierre Dux, Yves Montand, Irene Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant; and Vassilis Vassilikos, author of the book Z; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Yves Montand The Deputy
Irene Papas Helene, the Deputy's wife
Jean-Louis Trintignant The Magistrate
Jacques Perrin Photojournalist
François Perier Public Prosecutor
Charles Denner Manuel
Jose Artur The Newspaper Editor
Maurice Baquet The Bald Man
Marcel Bozzuffi Vago
Gérard Darrieu Baron
Jean Dasté Coste
Van Doude The Hospital Director
Steve Gadler English Photographer
Georges Géret Nick
Gabriel Jabbour Bozzini
Clotilde Joano Shoula
Guy Mairesse Dumas
Jean-Pierre Miquel Pierre
Magali Noël Nick's Sister
Georges Rouquier Actor
Renato Salvatori Yago
Eva Simonet Niki
Andrée Tainsy Nick's Mother
Jean-Francois Gobbi Jimmy the Boxer
Pierre Dux The General
Bernard Fresson Matt
Julien Guiomar The Colonel
Jean Bouise Deputy Georges Pirou

Technical Credits
Costa-Gavras Director,Screenwriter
Piet Bolscher Costumes/Costume Designer
Françoise Bonnot Editor
Raoul Coutard Cinematographer
Jacques D'Ovidio Art Director
Bernard Gérard Musical Direction/Supervision
Jacques Perrin Producer
Ahmed Rachedi Producer
Jorge Semprun Screenwriter
Mikis Theodorakis Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Z
1. Ideological Mildew [6:20]
2. Refusals ad Threats [5:14]
3. The Deputy's Arrival [7:30]
4. Before His Speech [3:45]
5. Crossing the Square [3:53]
6. "The People Require the Truth" [5:15]
7. After His Speech [4:30]
8. Yago and Vago [9:35]
9. "Clinically Dead" [3:32]
10. His Wife's Arrival [4:29]
11. The Magistrate Takes Over [5:35]
12. Z [5:35]
13. "The Colonel and I Were There" [4:29]
14. A Volunteer Witness [6:42]
15. Family Matters [4:45]
16. Questioning Vago [3:53]
17. CROC [5:10]
18. Georges' Attacker [5:48]
19. "Honor is at Stake" [3:05]
20. Building a Case [5:45]
21. Manuel's Statement [7:37]
22. Grounds for Indictment [5:11]
23. "Name and Occupation" [5:36]
24. Coda [3:43]
1. "Against the Colonels" [5:29]
2. Three Main Actors [4:26]
3. Camara, Editing, and Music [6:44]
4. When the Movie Arrived [2:22]


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Z 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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