This was on TV last night and it was very captivating. More than 2 hours and I was stuck to the end.
Minutes ago I read that this is based on a true event (yes, the credits did say that any similarities to any living person are deliberate), but the location was in Greece. When I watched it last night I thought it was France. 'Z' in ancient Greek means 'he is alive'.
Supported by a strong cast (incl. Irene Papas,Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, François Périer, Renato Salvatori), Yves Montand plays 'Z', an activist, who I think fight for peace and is against foreign military bases. After giving a speech, he is hit by a club, held by a passenger on a passing truck, and later dies of brain damage. The authorities, the generals in particular, try to cover up the case, but the examining judge keeps pursuing the truth.
This is a very powerful film and gives a good picture about how powerful a conspiracy can be. Too bad this kind of movie can only be seen on TV5. Our local stations must show this kind of film once in a while. The examining judge is not without threats or offers if he agrees to compromise, but he goes on. I like the scenes where he charges the colonel/generals with first-degree murder. In entering the room, each of the accused says 'this is embarrassing. I prefer to kill myself.' but the judge ignores them and says instead: 'Nom, prenom, occupation?' And in getting out of the room, the judge tells them to use the back door to avoid journalists. They walk through this narrow alley and funnily each of them tries to open a locked door in the alley. I wonder if they are familiar of the alley, or it's just an instinct.
In the end, one honest person is not enough. To get rid of corrupted persons, every body need to cooperate. Every body needs to have a will to be better. The examining judge has done good, but if the justice system does not support him then it's all for nothing. The movie closes with notes that the culprits receive light sentences because almost all the witnesses are dead.