Z

dir. Costa-Gavras

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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A determined magistrate (Jean-Louis Trintignant) investigates the assassination of a left-wing politician in Costa-Gavras' controversial, ultra-suspenseful political thriller.
Festooned with prizes, including the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Film of the Year citations by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics, plus a Best Actor award for Jean-Louis Trintignant at Cannes, Costa-Gavras' controversial, ultra-suspenseful political thriller gave Trintignant one of the great roles of his career and became a surprise massive hit in North America. While Z never explicitly states its setting, it clearly indicates that it is based on the assassination of left-wing Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in Athens in 1963, and the subsequent overthrow of the country's democratic government by a military junta in 1967. Trintignant plays a magistrate investigating the assassination of a politician (Yves Montand) killed by right-wing thugs while on the way to address a rally for nuclear disarmament. As the facts increasingly point to the collusion of the military, witnesses mysteriously begin to die or disappear and the magistrate is warned off his dangerous investigation. Breathless and tense, surprisingly funny and ultimately shattering, Z maintains its power to shock and enrage. "The best film of the year. . . . It will make you weep and make you angry. It will tear your guts out" (Roger Ebert).