Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Run, Don't Walk

A sold out showing at BAM of Z, Costa-Gavras' 1969 political thriller, based on the takeover of the Colonels in Greece in 1963. Selected and introduced by William Friedkin, he told us that for years he'd been saying that without Z there could have been no The French Connection. "What a stupid thing to say. Z is a far better movie." Loving them both, it's hard to disagree.
The assassination of the pacifist MP and opposition leader (based on Grigoris Lambrakis) happens early in the movie. As he leaves the lecture hall after a rally, he orders an aide to call the local Chief of Police to demand protection from the right-wing thugs that surround him--even though he knows the police side with the military. "The police have responsibilities," he says. Words with some currency in New York City, with its NYPD "slowdown" (less policing at full pay).

The real drama comes with the investigation by the examining judge, in the face of opposition and sabotage from the right-wing military establishment. Prosecutorial courage, something in short supply here (Staten Island, Ferguson, MO, and dozens of other places). And journalistic courage, in the person of a very enterprising photojournalist Vive la presse! James Risen! Charlie Hebdo!

The story is Greek but the stars are French: Yves Montand plays the opposition leader, Irene Papas, his wife, Jacques Perrin, the photographer, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, the unflappable examining judge. And so are most of the cars, like the old Peugeot chasing one of Lambrakis' aides (Charles Denner) above on his way to testify. (The Colonels drive Mercedes-Benzes, naturally.) Amazing score by Mikis Theodorakis, himself jailed by the junta. And, along with All the President's Men, one of the great typewriter movies--IBM Selectric with an Prestige Elite 72 font ball (12 pt.).

No comments:

Post a Comment