491 Z

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Message
Author
User avatar
Svevan
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:49 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: 491 Z

#26 Post by Svevan » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:16 am

Jeff wrote:
psufootball07 wrote:Not sure they quite missed the boat by not releasing this on BR, there are still quite a few people out there who still pick up the SD releases.
Since there has previously been a special edition on the market, releasing this in Blu-ray would seem like an obvious way to distinguish this disc from its predecessor.
The one thing that will distinguish this disc from its predecessor is improved image quality. The Wellspring may have been satisfactory at the time, but I couldn't stand it: interlaced, muted colors, a bit foggy, and I think PAL speedup to top it all off. Looking forward to even an SD update, although I hope Criterion isn't cruel enough to release a Blu version within a year of the release date.

atcolomb
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:49 pm
Location: Round Lake, Illinois USA

Re: 491 Z

#27 Post by atcolomb » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:40 pm

I have both the Criterion laserdisc and the Wellspring versions. The laserdisc image was kinda of rough and the Wellespring version has a better image but still room for improvement. It's too bad no blu-ray..it's one of my favorites!

User avatar
HistoryProf
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 3:48 am
Location: KCK

Re: 491 Z

#28 Post by HistoryProf » Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:23 pm

Not being an up to the minute finger on the pulse of rumored future releases guy, this was a WOO HOO!!!! dancing banana moment for me when I saw the release on the Criterion page. an absolute must buy for me, though I do share the misgivings about the lack of a bluray release on this one. Nonetheless, I will be preordering as soon as it appears on the etailer sites.

User avatar
psufootball07
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: 491 Z

#29 Post by psufootball07 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:28 pm

DVD Beaver review

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDRevie ... gavras.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: 491 Z

#30 Post by cdnchris » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:29 am


User avatar
aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: 491 Z

#31 Post by aox » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:01 pm

Criterion just sent me a release email called:

Anatomy of a Murder

I opened it up and it turned out to be about the new release of "Z"....This is not a comment on Z, as it is a fine film, but they shouldn't get my hopes up that they will be releasing "Anatomy of a Murder". ](*,)

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#32 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:57 pm

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3rd AT 6:00 AM.

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

RESOURCES:
Criterion thread


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.



***PM me if you have any suggestions for additions or just general concerns and questions.***

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#33 Post by swo17 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:51 pm

:-#


Last edited by The Government on Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#34 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:19 pm

Since this was ushered in under a Best Picture Nominee grouping, I think it's interesting to note that this film wasn't swept in on its merits but was, ala Chocolat et al, a product of a hugely successful bid by the distributors to influence Academy voters towards their film. Watching it now, we think "Wow, this is such a great film, and so unlike anything else that ever gets nominated for Best Picture," but there's a reason for that! And of course political discourse in the country at the time drove a lot of people to seek it out at the time-- it was one of the highest grossing films of the year, a rare feat for a foreign language film in any year in this country! Those curious to learn more should read Peter Brown's the Real Oscar, which I've now recommended so many times that I think I finally get a free sub.

As for the film, yes, it's great and was clearly the best film nominated in 1969 (you can read my thoughts on the whole lineup here). Beyond that, I don't have much else to say-- there's a reason I didn't vote for this (and in fact I think this was the least appealing option of our five choices this round) despite loving the movie!

User avatar
Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#35 Post by Black Hat » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:12 pm

I find Z a tough film to discuss as its most memorable bits are straight forward and abundant in their greatness, 'How great was that part? Yeah, pretty great.' With the subject matter, pacing and editing style It's certainly a precursor, heavy influence on 70s paranoia, the music perfect, but what I found most interesting, where I felt Costa-Gavras hit every note perfectly was with casting. The success of a film like this hedges on whether or not the people you're watching are believable, everyone from the General to the reporter to Irene Pappas, obviously Trintignant, and the members of Croc were cast perfectly. Trintignant was especially great and what I appreciated most about his character was that the only side he was on was the law, the only interest he had was justice. There was no love interest or some other unnecessary device to draw us into his character. The one thing bout the film that didn't work for me were the flashback, dream sequences of Montand, not sure if I ever understood what the wig thing was about and Pappas that did make a bit more sense but also fell flat.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#36 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:18 pm

Interesting that despite often being told this was filmed in a cinema verite style, that fact is only true for the scenes surrounding the murder where the techniques are meant to create a sense that control has broken down. In that, it's very effective and no doubt an influence on 70's films using the same methods. After that, however, the film uses more classical film techniques (controlled, understated, flowing camera movements replace the jerky reframings of the first half) as well as subjective techniques, such as mindscreens showing the memory associations of the murdered politician's wife (these are prefigured by the politician's own reminiscence earlier). These techniques are never really followed up.

What's most interesting, tho', is how despite the control being exercised over the whole plot (from guiding the organizers towards a single venue, to setting up the attack, to maybe even preparing a covert police car to murder the man while under the guise of taking him to the hospital) the whole thing is absurdly haphazard and unprofessional. No wonder it was uncovered so clearly. Riding into a crowd on while amounts to a motorized scooter and bludgeoning a man with a club is a strikingly terrible way to assassinate someone and relies on an unwieldy network of lies to bolster it and needs a lot of evidence and witnesses to be disposed of. I suppose the higher ups simply assumed, in their hubris, that their positions and authority were enough to smooth everything over and bury opposition. And they weren't wrong--they just didn't realize they would not be the ones to succeed at it. The coda is depressing and easy enough to believe, with the thugs at the bottom getting real (if far too short) punishments, the higher ups a slap on the wrist, and the witnesses and sympathizers either punishment or murder.

The final moments move unperceptibly from realism to almost surrealism (can't think of a better term), with a list of further outrages that become absurd, but which, because of that quick shift from the news broadcast to an external narrator, you don't immediately realize aren't meant to be taken as real, but as an absurdest extension of the very real oppression detailed by the film.

One of the more chilling moments was that haranguing at the end by the attorney general, when you suddenly realize his rhetoric is full of phrases taken word-for-word from the speech given by the head of CROC.

This is clearly a precursor to the 70's paranoia films, although it's worth noting how the conspiracy is less abstract and less shadowy, the plot less labyrinthine, and everything much more visceral and comprehensible. You fathom the hows and whys easily enough, and the conspiracy has a ceiling instead of ascending into impenetrable shadows where you're no longer sure who's pulling the strings. Quite the contrary: there's a banality to the conspirators that's missing from the more shadowy 70's thrillers. They aren't all-knowing, all-seeing shades; they're banal, ordinary, petty human beings with banal, ordinary ideologies. That's what makes it so frustrating and enraging when they more or less get away with it. There is no reason why they shouldn't have been punished--the plot was all so clear!

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#37 Post by knives » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:59 pm

What do you mean by real? I don't suppose you are meaning it in the way I understand it, but growing up with refugees from Venezuela and Chile I find the ending to be absolutely real and similar to much I've heard of such events. Also as haphazard as the assassination is it's not terribly more clumsy then that of Yitzhak Rabin where the guy just walked up to the PM.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#38 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:29 am

I very much never want to have this argument with you again. I also assumed, when I used that word, that no one would possibly mistake me for meaning: "is incapable of happening in real life."

User avatar
jindianajonz
Jindiana Jonz Abrams
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:11 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#39 Post by jindianajonz » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:02 am

Mr Sausage wrote:The final moments move unperceptibly from realism to almost surrealism (can't think of a better term), with a list of further outrages that become absurd, but which, because of that quick shift from the news broadcast to an external narrator, you don't immediately realize aren't meant to be taken as real, but as an absurdest extension of the very real oppression detailed by the film.
I'm not trying to push you into a discussion that you don't wish to have, but I'm don't follow what you are trying to say- I thought those final scenes were supposed to be the clearest connection between the fiction of the film and the reality of what happened in Lambrekis's assasination, which is why they include the pictures of the "real life" person the actors were playing. What do you mean by they "aren't meant to be taken as real"?

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#40 Post by knives » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:08 am

jindianajonz wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:The final moments move unperceptibly from realism to almost surrealism (can't think of a better term), with a list of further outrages that become absurd, but which, because of that quick shift from the news broadcast to an external narrator, you don't immediately realize aren't meant to be taken as real, but as an absurdest extension of the very real oppression detailed by the film.
I'm not trying to push you into a discussion that you don't wish to have, but I'm don't follow what you are trying to say- I thought those final scenes were supposed to be the clearest connection between the fiction of the film and the reality of what happened in Lambrekis's assasination, which is why they include the pictures of the "real life" person the actors were playing. What do you mean by they "aren't meant to be taken as real"?
I think that was just largely directed at me since we've had go nowhere discussions on similar stuff before though I don't think in this case Costa-Gavras was intending anything other than news documentary which puts it in a different realm from Kubrick to me. though that's the last post from me until invite because I agree with Sausage the tenets of this are tired between us at this point.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#41 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:24 am

jindianajonz wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:The final moments move unperceptibly from realism to almost surrealism (can't think of a better term), with a list of further outrages that become absurd, but which, because of that quick shift from the news broadcast to an external narrator, you don't immediately realize aren't meant to be taken as real, but as an absurdest extension of the very real oppression detailed by the film.
I'm not trying to push you into a discussion that you don't wish to have, but I'm don't follow what you are trying to say- I thought those final scenes were supposed to be the clearest connection between the fiction of the film and the reality of what happened in Lambrekis's assasination, which is why they include the pictures of the "real life" person the actors were playing. What do you mean by they "aren't meant to be taken as real"?
I'm referring specifically to the scroll of text above the image of the tank, which seemed deliberately extreme and meant symbolically.

User avatar
Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#42 Post by Black Hat » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:29 am

Not sure I quite understand the rationale of dancing around something both of you, despite claiming otherwise, clearly want to talk about as there appear to be loose ends of dissatisfaction but nevertheless can one of you direct us to the thread(s) where you two apparently beat this subject to death?

Sausage I see where you're coming from but I think you're being dismissive of certain realities, meaning that reality can certainly be that absurd or to use a tired term of modern vernacular, Kafkaesque. Given past discussions about films with political themes it seems to me that you have a bit of blind spot to those aspects, or if not a blind spot, a bias. Knives I have no idea what you're talking about for reasons stated above.

User avatar
Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#43 Post by Black Hat » Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:36 am

Mr Sausage wrote:I'm referring specifically to the scroll of text above the image of the tank, which seemed deliberately extreme and meant symbolically.
How was it extreme or symbolic? It was stylized yes but the list of things banned is very much reality.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#44 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:10 am

It's absurdist in its presentation ('and then there was martial law. The end'). It didn't seem like a part of the diegesis so much as a comment by the filmmakers on the political content of their own movie, that the kinds of things listed in the scroll of words are the inevitable result of the abuse of institutional power.

Or did you guys somehow seriously believe I'm of the opinion that banning books and curtailing freedoms isn't a very real and common thing?

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#45 Post by knives » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:20 am

The word choice was vague though absurdist helps make your point clear though I suppose that just shows that reality in this case is absurdist as I think the disconnect is intended to highlight the disconnect of such powers. In a semi-prescient way I suppose you could say it's like how 9/11 lead to the war in Iraq. On the surface it could be told the same way as you are pointing to. I had a point about a lesson attached to all of this, but it seems I forgot. The short though is I do think the matter of fact way the end is done works well in how it is supposed to apply to its real world inspirations.

User avatar
Michael Kerpan
Spelling Bee Champeen
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#46 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:45 am

I was very impressed by this film the first time I saw it (when it was new-ish), but subsequent viewings have been progresively "disenchanting". There is something about the way the film looks most of the time -- I guess the cinematography (and, perhaps, editing) doesn't work for me anymore. Not sure why, except it just didn't ever seem very visually interesting (despite the exciting plot). It seemed primarily concerned with sending us a message -- and, even though I appreciate the message as message -- this put me off.

It didn't help Z that when I (much) later encountered IM Sang-soo's President's Last Bang, I felt Im's film covered somewhat similar ground in a far more interesting and visually impressive fashion. I assume that Im was familiar with Z, so perhaps he was trying to go beyong it.

User avatar
Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#47 Post by Black Hat » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:44 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:It's absurdist in its presentation ('and then there was martial law. The end'). It didn't seem like a part of the diegesis so much as a comment by the filmmakers on the political content of their own movie, that the kinds of things listed in the scroll of words are the inevitable result of the abuse of institutional power.

Or did you guys somehow seriously believe I'm of the opinion that banning books and curtailing freedoms isn't a very real and common thing?
No I certainly don't hence why I was confused by what you had written. Your point that the presentation was absurdist I don't think is correct either as the term places a trivial value on what is very much specific which I would argue was a logical continuation of a narrative based on realism.

User avatar
warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#48 Post by warren oates » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:28 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Riding into a crowd on while amounts to a motorized scooter and bludgeoning a man with a club is a strikingly terrible way to assassinate someone and relies on an unwieldy network of lies to bolster it and needs a lot of evidence and witnesses to be disposed of.
I know what you mean, but at the same time these details are part of what I've also found most striking and prescient about the film. Isn't part of why they were so brazen and sloppy because it never occurred to them that they wouldn't get away with it? These plausibly deniable plain clothes paramilitary thugs agitating the crowd and striking in the open, with total impunity. We've seen these kinds of political enforcers in totalitarian governments around the world since -- especially the motorbike riding and truncheon wielding Basij in Iran during the Green Movement election protests in 2009. The staging of the attack also echoes the way so many other leaders around the world at the time were killed in front of or in the midst of huge crowds.

I'll have to disagree with Michael about The President's Last Bang. It's not a terrible film, but not nearly as important or influential as this one. And about a very different and distinctly Korean scenario. I can understand why some people would see Z as a little overrated retroactively, but I'd argue that, in part, that's because its huge influence on subsequent political thrillers makes it feel less original if you're coming to it later. In addition to the 70s cinema of paranoia, I'd cite Paul Greengrass' films and Oliver Stone's JFK, which he's always said he saw as modeled on the template of an investigation like the one in Z.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#49 Post by Drucker » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:10 pm

Sausage mentions the control used in the plot, and one of the things that struck me as best about the film is how the film flows so well and is not afraid to change focus. I had an English teacher in high school that taught us that the story needs to write itself. More or less he was trying to say a story should flow naturally (I forget his exact wording). And that idea is employed quite masterfully here.

We talked two films ago, about the Clouzot, and in that film, it starts one way, there is a crime committed, and it sort of turns into procedural. But the film keeps every character involved. Even the ones that, it turns out, were innocent the whole time. Not to judge which is better, but I really liked that after the death, the investigation begins. But there is also time spent on cover-ups, introducing new characters, and other items. The film doesn't even really leave you wondering "will justice be served" because Trintignant so brilliantly steals the show with an unbelievable performance. This is another way in which the film just goes with the flow. Our frustration mirrors that of the magistrate as he's spoon-fed bullshit upon bullshit, and it seems almost eager to make sure justice is served just to show people shouldn't be able to get away with this crap, even if he agrees with them politically.

The film is punctuated with lots of brilliant little moments. When the wife enters the room in the hospital where they seem to be examining X-Rays, and she just tunes out those around her, it was an effective scene. So much turmoil in her personal life is now at rest, the conflicts with her husband are over, and his spirit can live on peacefully. Surely she is devastated and might not ever have closure, but her "They finally got him" sentiment almost insinuates that not only did she know it was inevitable, but perhaps it was the source of conflict for the two. Her husband's movement and ideals were harming the family, and their child (who is never shown in anything but flashback?).

User avatar
warren oates
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Re: Z (Costa-Gavras, 1969)

#50 Post by warren oates » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:23 pm

Not just the flow but the pace too and the unabashed aspirations to delivering something like genre thrills. That a serious minded political docudrama, and a rather talky one at that, dares to be so fast moving and entertaining is certainly one of the film's more original and influential achievements.

Post Reply