The Passion of the Weiss

Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick. But most of the time, I don't rhyme.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's Gotta Be the Mustache

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a Skirball Institute Film Series event featuring a screening of the 1969 French film Z, and a discussion of the film with Oliver Stone. The film was specifically chosen by Stone, as it was instrumental to his development as a filmmaker during his film school days at NYU.

While I'm not going to write up an entire review of the film, I highly encourage anyone interested in good movies to check it out. The winner of two Oscars (best foreign language film and best film editing), Z even managed to get nominated for the 1970 Best Picture Ocar, where it ultimately lost out to Midnight Cowboy. When you watch the film these accolades come as no surprise, as Z is one of the most intelligent yet highly entertaining political movies ever made.

The film itself is a barely fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Gregoris Lambrakis in 1963. As Wikipedia puts it, with "its satirical view of Greek politics, its dark sense of humor, and its chilling ending, the film captures a sense of outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time."

It sounds like pretty heavy subject matter and it is, but the filmmaker, Costa Gavras, handles the gravity of the events with a light touch, yet simultaneously manages to fiercely mock the fascist military junta then ruling
Greece. Needless to say, any film that has the balls to open up with the disclaimer, "Any resemblance to real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is DELIBERATE," is a-ok in my book.

As for the discussion with Stone that followed, it was as weird as you might expect. Among the tidbits of knowledge that he dropped were that he doesn't believe Lee Harvey Oswald played a real role in the JFK assasination, that he misses Nixon because "at least Nixon had a conscience," and that he watched Wedding Crashers three times in the theaters. I'll let that last one slide, because if anyone should get a critical free pass, it's Oliver Stone. The guy was behind Platoon, Wall St., Natural Born Killers, Born on the 4th of July, Scarface, The Doors, JFK and yes, Conan The Barbarian. A genius? Obviously. That being said, I'm still not going anywhere near his next flick, World Trade Center.

But most importantly, after watching Z, I noticed one fact that no one in the media has yet to pick up on. It seems the protagonist of Z, Jacques Perrin, and new Charlotte Bobcat Adam Morrison, might indeed be the same person. Take a closer look and then ask yourself, how well do you know Adam Morrison? Is his proclivity for crying nothing more than evidence of a sensitive and artistic Gallic film background? You decide.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger amphimacer said...

Not Urban Cowboy -- Midnight Cowboy. Unless Debra Winger and Dustin Hoffman look kind of the same to you (not even in Tootsie, I think).

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

My bad. It was wishful thinking. As I'm more partial to Urban of the two. John Travolta in a cowboy hat=unintentionally hilarious every single time.

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous dan said...

thanks for the tip. its been added to my queue.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger amphimacer said...

I've never been able to watch Senor Travolta without giggling at least a little. Sometimes, as in Pulp Fiction, that's a good thing. Sometimes, as in Moment by Moment, the laughter is the only thing keeping you sane -- and sometimes that doesn't work. I did mean to agree with you about Z, which blew everyone away when it came out. I haven't seen it for many years now, but your bringing it up reminds me that it's worth another viewing. I believe that Z is the undeclared backbone and genesis of the whole oeuvre of Oliver Stone. JFK is cut not merely from the same cloth, but from the same patch. This is not a bad thing.

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous matt said...

I'm surprised I've never heard of Z! I'll put it on my list of flicks to check out. Was it in greek or French? Subtitles?


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