Synopsis & Film Details

Z is a 1969 French language political thriller directed by Costa Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis Vassilikos. The film presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Gregoris Lambrakis in 1963. With its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its chilling ending, the film captures the sense of outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

Z stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as the investigating magistrate (an analogue of Christos Sartzetakis, who years later was appointed President of Greece by democratically-elected parliamentarians). International stars Yves Montand and Irene Papas also appear. Jacques Perrin, who co-produced, plays a key role.

The film’s title refers to the popular Greek protest slogan “Ζει”, meaning “he (Lambrakis) lives”.

Directed by Costa Gavras
Algeria/France, 1969, Restored 35mm
127 minutes, Rated PG
French with English subtitles