"Z" stands for zei, or he lives, the Greek third person verb for "to be alive." The "he" n question is Gregory Lambrakis. Lambrakis is a deputy of the communist-oriented union of the Democratie left (EDA), a party opposed to the policies of Greek Prime Minister Constantino Karamanlis. Lambrakis was assassinated on May 22 1963, after speakmg at a rally protesting the presence of American missiles in Greece It is his death that throws into motion a smoke-screen of deception which in turn exposes the weaknesses of Karamanlis1 government and (by director Costa-Garvas' account) opens the door to the fascistic coup on April 21 1967 by the Greek military to install George Papadopoulos at the expense of the then sitting center-left government of George Papandreou. The impact "Z" had on international cinema in the late 1960s and early 70s can scarcely be overestimated. The film won the Cannes Film Festival "Jury Prize"; the American Hollywood Oscar "Best horeign Film award; and the New York Critic's Award. The film was also banned in Greece (obviously) Spain, Mexico, Morocco, Brazil, Portugal and India. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos, the film was scripted by CostaGarvas and Jorge Sempprun. The troupe of international actors and actresses in "Z" include Yves Montand as the ill-fated Lambrakis; Jean-Louis Trintignant as the non-ideological "special investigator" who slowly uncovers the conspiracy; Irene Papas as Lambrakis1 widow; and Marcel Bozzufi and Renato Salvatori as the two dim-witted thugs blackmailed by the pólice to commit the murder A masterfully quick-paced film with the psychological tensión of a Hitchcock mystery coupled with the graphic semi-documentary impact of cinema vérité, "Z" is nonetneless a calculatedly commercial film that was specifically geared by director Costa-Garvas towards a non-ideological audience. Thus whether viewed as a documentan, action thriller or political biography, the film is highly successful on all counts. í is a potent reminder that political activism cannot be stamped out nor silenced ... for Lambrakis certainly does live. T will show at U-M1 Lorch Hall on Now. 12 at 7 and 9:15 pm.
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