Jorge Samprum and Costa Gavras leave an unusual "disclaimer" at the beginning of Z that says, "Any similarity to actual events or persons living or dead is not coincidental." A chilling, manipulative rollercoaster ride. Originally subtitled "The Anatomy of a Political Assassination", this intense political thriller is based on the murder of Gregorios Lambrakis in 1963, a Greek liberal whose extreme popularity and advocacy of peace shook the stability of the government in power. Starring is Yves Montand, who, although referred to only as "Doctor", is clearly Lambrakis. After his liberal organisation, the Friends of Peace, loses a large meeting hall at the last moment, the Doctor is forced to find another venue. He appeals and is given a permit to hold the meeting in a small, 200-seat auditorium, although it is expected to draw over 4.000. During the meeting, Doctor's supporters are taunted by a violent rightwing faction, while the police do little "protection" stands by passively. Later, the police do little to protect the Doctor from a truck that speeds by, from which someone ferociously clubs the Doctor in the head, killing him. In order to give the appearance of an investigation, the general in charge appoints an Examining Magistrate, who is believed to be a pawn of the government, but soon surprises all by probing deep into a government conspiracy and cover-up. Rather than appealing only to a politically minded audience, Z found a great deal of enthusiastic support from almost everyone who saw it. Z succeeds where so many political pictures have failed because of its concentration on the thriller aspects of the story. Borrowing heavily from American gangster, prison and anti-facist melodrama conventions, Costa Gavras' film contains many breathtaking, pressure-filled scenes that help pummel home the sometimes confusing politics.

Costa Gavras
Jorge Semproen

Raoul Coutard

Françoise Bonnot

Reganne Films

Charles Denner
François Perier
Georges Geret
Irene Papas
Jacques Perrin
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Yves Montand

Mikis Theodorakis

Best Actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) Cannes; Best Motion Picture Awards; Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globes USA; Best Film National Society of Film Critics Awards-USA; Best Film
Best Director New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Editing Oscar; Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music British Academy Awards; Jury Prize
Best Foreign Language Film

7th Festival on Wheels