04/24/2014  
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next Chapter on DVD/VOD May 13Shelter Island on DVD May 13Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on DVD May 13Flying Tigers & Home of the Brave on Blu-ray & DVD May 13Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital May 13The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & Blu-ray May 13Longmire: Season 2 on DVD May 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Miley Cyrus Makes Time's 100 Most Influential People; D...
VIDEO: COLBERT Declares 'I've Won Television' on Jon St...
'The Voice' Recap: Bottom Three Plead for Viewers' Save...
Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman and new 'Late Sh...
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautif...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Wellspring presents
Z (1968)

"Any similarity to actual person or events is deliberate."
- opening title card

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: September 04, 2002

Stars: Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant
Other Stars: Jacques Perrin, Charles Denner, Pierre Dux, Marcel Bozzuffi
Director: Costa-Gavras

Manufacturer: Blink Digital
MPAA Rating: PG
Run Time: 02h:01m:33s
Release Date: July 02, 2002
UPC: 720917532622
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA-B+ A-

DVD Review

Once upon a time, political moviemaking wasn't a box office kiss of death, and every last filmmaker hadn't ceded the field to Oliver Stone. It's unfortunate that we've come to this, but Z is not only a fine film, though very much of its time; it's a reminder that a movie can brim with political passion without insisting that Lyndon Johnson and a cast of thousands were on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza.

The movie is deliberately opaque about its location and characters, but the original audience and the filmmakers were all well aware that this is a thinly fictionalized version of the assassination in 1963 of Gregorios Lambrakis, a leader in the Greek anti-nuclear movement, killed by the military forces that would shortly thereafter overthrow the government. Yves Montand plays this charismatic figure, here identified only as the Deputy, arriving in town to deliver a speech at a rally and to face down the forces arrayed against the forces calling for nuclear disarmament.

The authorities, in vehement disagreement with the peace movement, blithely ignore the threats on the deputy's life that are reported to them; they also provide the rally with a pittance of police protection, more or less inviting the eruption of violence. And indeed, bad things come to pass, as the deputy is savaged by a gang of thugs, and dies from a brain hemorrhage.

The local prosecutor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) spearheads the investigation, and he seems to be the last honest man—the shoddy events are too full of coincidences, and his examination of the facts leads him further up the chain of command. A fish rots from the head, and all of the prosecutor's worst suspicions about the government in which he serves are confirmed.

One of the many accomplishments of Z is the way in which it pulses with the politics of its time—it's very much a film of the Cold War, and one with a Mediterranean sensibility, with the Europeans knowing full well that in a potential confrontation between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., they were liable to be caught in the crossfire. But this is such a terrific movie because it's more than merely polemical—the specificity with which these characters are portrayed and the world they inhabit is all so deeply human. It's easy to recognize, in this film about another time and place, much of both the best and worst about human nature.

The director and his cinematographer, Raoul Coutard, infuse the scenes with tremendous energy, as the camera probes and insinuates itself into rooms, and the ceilings are invariably low, lending the military establishment especially a palpable sense of menace. Although almost all of the shoot was on location, the production team took great care in the composition of the images; it's a style of shooting that had a tremendous influence, and many of the great American films of the early 1970s, including The Conversation and All the President's Men, owe an obvious debt to Coutard.

Costa-Gavras also assembled a marvelous group of actors; there's the fear, given that many of the characters are little more than their functions, that the acting style could get melodramatic, but it never does. Montand has only twelve minutes of screen time, but his sense of the rightness of his cause and his fear that he'll be called on to pay the ultimate sacrifice set the tone for the whole movie. (The parallel between him and JFK is played up—his speeches borrow from President Kennedy's, and the images of him after the attack on his life are deliberately reminiscent of November 22, 1963.) Irene Papas is especially good as his wife, in what's nearly a silent part, and Marcel Bozzuffi is particularly memorable as one of the thugs temporarily in the government's employ.

There's a sense in some of Costa-Gavras's American films, like Music Box or Betrayed, that there's something about this country that he doesn't quite get, but here, on turf closer to home, he does a stunning job with the material. There's an obvious comic-opera aspect to the idiots in power, responsible for the plot that gets unfurled, and they would be greater figures of comedy if they didn't have guns. The conclusion of the film is both heartening and sobering; it's hard to be a good man in a bad world, the director seems to be telling us, but the glory of living is in the effort.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film has received a good going-over for DVD, and generally looks splendid, the colors especially. Reds fare very well, browns and yellows less so, and the black level is solid. Only an occasional scratch shows up; alas, restoration can heal most but not all wounds.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoFrenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The mono track is perfectly fine, and though much of the movie is men exchanging information, the 5.1 track is preferable, especially for the more active scenes—political rallies, car chases and such. The rear speakers are put to good effect especially in these busier sequences, layering in more ambient sound and using the soundtrack to heighten the drama. Only slight drawback: the 5.1 track makes Mikis Theodorakis's music sound even more tinny.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 40 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, German with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Costa-Gavras
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. photo gallery
  2. DVD production credits
  3. description of related videos from the Wellspring catalog
Extras Review: Director Costa-Gavras provides an insightful commentary track; he speaks in French, and there's a separate English subtitle option for this. He discusses the difficulties getting the film made—only the cooperation of the Algerian government made it possible—and his passion for the material and the politics of the time remain pungent, nearly twenty-five years later. He's also entertaining talking about the production—given the location shoot, actors weren't readily available, so many of the smaller parts were filled either by members of the crew or by Francophones who happened to be living in Algiers at the time. (His commentary track raises one question, about the running time of the film. He mentions on a couple of occasions that the movie is 127 minutes long, and the same number is on the DVD case, but the movie itself is six minutes or so shorter.)

What's billed as an Interview (18m:41s) is really a discussion between the director and Vassili Vassilikos, on whose novel the film was based. Vassilikos spent better than three years researching the historical materials, and then wrote the novel with tremendous speed; Costa-Gavras read and loved the book, but had trouble tracking down the author, as a Greek putsch intervened. Intercut with their discussion is footage from the time of the film's original release, including a few moments on set with Yves Montand.

A Restoration Demonstration (06m:27s) illustrates just why the film looks so good here, and the hard work that went into cleaning up the print. Filmographies are provided for Montand, Papas, Trintignant and Costa-Gavras; weblinks are provided to a site for Wellspring, the distributor; another for Mad City, a more recent film by the same director; a tribute to Raoul Coutard; and to the original review of the movie by Pauline Kael.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Moral decency and outrage in concert with cinematic skill is a high-powered combination, and Costa-Gavras uses the latter to express the former in this potent film, that still speaks to us and looks terrific in this new transfer. An informative package of extras seals the deal. Highly recommended.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 





Covered California

Keywords

television, music, miley cyrus, time magazine, dolly parton, wrecking ball, late night, stephen colbert, the colbert report, jon stewart, the daily show, comedy central, cbs, late show, the voice, vocal competition, carson daly, twitter, usher, t.j. wilkins, shakira, tess boyer, dani moz, david letterman, celebrity, lupita nyong'o, people mangazine, academy award, 12 years a slave, steve mcqueen, biography, documentary, box office, movies, good morning america, abc, lara spencer, josh elliot, nbc sports, george stephanopolous, robin roberts, movie, heaven is for real, connor corum, greg kinnear, thomas haden, books, gabriel garcia marquez, nobel laureate, one hundred years of solitude, war, cannes film festival, grace of monaco, nicole kidman, kristen stewart, robert pattinson, maps to the stars, julianne moore, foxcatcher, the homesman, tommy lee jones, hilary swank, mrs. doubtfire, robin williams, fox 2000, chris columbus, david berenhaum, drama, brad pitt, general stanley mcchrystal, the operators, afghanistan war film, david michod, gone girl gillian flynn, ben affleck, rosamund pike, elvis costello, she, nine inch nails, trent reznor, atticus ross, gone girl's score, ultimate warrior, james hellwig, wrestler, heart disease, world wrestling entertainment hall of fame, animation, hbo, game of thrones, jack gleeson, king joffrey baratheon, the purple wedding, horror

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact