A hungry bear doesn’t dance.

Z, directed by Costa-Gavras, has the unique distinction of being one of only 3 films to be nominated for Best Foreign Film and Best Picture at the Academy Awards, a rare and impressive achievement; one unlikely to be matched anytime soon in our modern Academy age. It is a highly political film as well, one that forgoes simple explanation in favor of highlighting the power and corruption surrounding one particular political event.

Right from the beginning, the film smashes through the screen with flavor and intensity, riding a wave of political action that continues to hold like a tsunami. The film is very blunt in the beginning, and hard to understand especially for foreigners like myself not acquainted with the subject material at hand. A bit of research into this one would do good before stepping into it, so you know what’s happening. The film is also intentionally vague with its material, not explaining anything but merely presenting it, often without names or identifiers that make it easier for us to follow along; it’s almost a documentary, a fictional one. The film’s rapid-fire editing also adds to the confounding nature of the story. The script, however, is incredibly astute and robust, and filled with action and power dialogue as well. The film ultimately shows itself to be about political coverup, and how some people in higher up positions can be complicit in such a flagrant disregard for the basic freedoms of the people.

I found this film to be very opaque, and very unwilling to let me into what exactly was going on and what context what was going on had in the greater scheme of things. It was too hard to understand what was going on, even though I felt that what was going on was important in some way. It wasn’t until I did some research after having watched the film that it made any sort of sense to me. I feel torn, because I can’t give it a bad rating because it was very good, but because I had such a hard time even understanding it I feel that I can’t give it a good rating either. This is definitely one I may have to revisit in the future, though if the film had been accessible in the first place I wouldn’t have to.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10


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