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From ChristieBooks:


Two recent additions to the 400+ documentaries, shorts and feature films on ChristieBooks' Brightcove site are Costa-Gavras' Z (1969) and Peter Watkins' rarely seen 1967 film Privilege.

Z (1969; Costa-Gavras)

Z is a 1969 French language political thriller directed by Costa Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 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.

Privilege (1967; Peter Watkins)

After directing several extraordinary documentaries for the BBC, Peter Watkins made his first dramatic feature with this flawed but striking film about Steven Shorter (Paul Jones), a pop singer in a future society where entertainment is controlled by a totalitarian government. Shorter's music and image is used to channel the impulses of rebellious youth; in one concert sequence, the crowd watches him sing a plaintive plea for love and understanding while locked in a cage surrounded by police officers armed with clubs. While Shorter is remarkably popular, he's also living a life created for him by the government, which Steven knows is a sham. When Shorter's handlers decide to revis image into that of an obedient, religious boy, he rebels, to his peril. Model Jean Shrimpton made her film debut here as an artist comissioned to paint a portrait of Shorter. Privilege later became something of a cult film; one of the film's admirers was rock poet Patti Smith, who recorded one of "Steven Shorter"'s songs, Set Me Free, on her 1978 album Easter.

Readers Comments

  1. Mark, I remember seeing "Z" in high school (that ages me a lot, I know) and everyone was horrified, it was such moving and brilliant film, theaters in Westchester where I lived we all having a hard time even getting it to show!
    Then I also traveled through Greece in 1969 and the dictator was in office Police stopped you as soon as you arrived at one of the islands and took your passport and then you'd actually sit in a cafe in Athens and people would whisper: "careful what you say. don't talk about the government in public."
    Hard to imagine now. But the Greeks were all so warm and drinking and partying in loud discos and the police were so friendly, so one barely felt what was going on except the posters everywhere of the dictator we called "Big Brother" as a joke. That whispering stayed with me forever.

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