Movies: Z

Watch the movie Z (1969) now. It is available on HBO Max and other platforms, and may be available from your library. Even if you have to spend a few dollars, watch it.

Why? Because while there are plenty of movies that incorporate the topics of political upheaval and repression, few are more exciting as a movie and more current in relevance than Z.

Greek director Costa-Gavras watched his country come under the control of a repressive military junta in the 1960s. Z is based on a chapter of that history, when a leader of the democratic resistance is killed, his murder and the complicity of the military leaders covered up. The movie, a French-Algerian production, is set in a French-speaking country that might be any.

Z was uniquely honored with Academy Award nominations for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film; it won the Foreign Film award. Since then, it has gone on to be regarded as a classic political thriller, and Costa-Gavras has gone on to make acclaimed movies such as State of Siege and Missing.

As we watch earnest and idealistic people marginalized as radicals (and even as Communists, just as in Z), and as we watch officials of integrity threatened for doing their jobs and upholding the truth, and as we watch murders covered up in the name of law and order, Z reminds us that this is nothing new and reminds us where it all leads.