Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Friends, New Friends - Z and Iran Today

With "Iran On The Brink"

how sadly topical

watching the new Criterion Collection edition of



I first saw Costa-Gavras's powerful political thriller

when I was a kid.

I watched the recently released

Criterion Collection DVD last night.

How tragic

that the world hasn't learned

in the years since then.

If you haven't seen this great film

you really must see it.

If you have seen it,

you'll probably want to see this meaningful film again.

You won't want to miss the fine performances by

Yves Montand  &  Jean-Louis Trintignant.


A pulse-pounding political thriller, Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’s Z was one of the cinematic sensations of the late sixties, and remains among the most vital dispatches from that hallowed era of filmmaking. This Academy Award winner—loosely based on the 1963 assassination of Greek left-wing activist Gregoris Lambrakis—stars Yves Montand as a prominent politician and doctor whose public murder amid a violent demonstration is covered up by military and government officials; Jean-Louis Trintignant is the tenacious magistrate who’s determined not to let them get away with it. Featuring kinetic, rhythmic editing, Raoul Coutard’s expressive vérité photography, and Mikis Theodorakis’s unforgettable, propulsive score, Z is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping masterpiece.

And here's a sadly similar view of Iran today:

In stark contrast to what you've just seen,
 experience this very special piece of music.

In describing composer Kaikhosru Sorabji's intoxicating
Gulistan (The Rose Garden),
Frank Holliday, the original dedicatee said:

"in a flowing panorama of dreamlike beauty,
we behold and are thoroughly immersed in all the exotic magic of Iran:
the Shah Mosque of Isfahan,
the poetry,
 the incredibly lovely works of porcelain, silver, and gold,
its exquisitely carved works of ivory and wood,
 and, of course,
the scented loveliness of the roses of Shiraz.
This work evokes in a masterly fashion delicious
and at times almost overpowering
whiffs of
Iran's "sweet rose-haunted walks,"".

 I hope this breathtaking vision of Iran
the tragedy of today.


  1. Excellent review, David. I'm adding this one to my Netflix queue. If it's a part of the prestigious Criterion Collection, it's gotta be good.

  2. Hello Willow!

    Glad you dropped by. Do watch Z. And if you have a moment search out the music by Sorabji, it is very beautiful. I watched Blow Up again recently and didn't like it as much as I did years ago. Did love what Herbie Hancock and friends did with the soundtrack. Happy New Year my dear.


  3. David -- Thanks so much for this music tip. As depressing and infuriating as the present state of affairs in Iran is, music that conjures up glorious images of Persian culture and Isfahan roses -- now that's definitely my style. (Do you know Fauré's wonderful art song 'Les Roses d'Isfahan'? As sung by Barbara Hendricks, an absolute dream. As are all of Fauré's mélodies in the first place.
    I'm going to track that CD down!
    All the best,

  4. Hello Again Michael,

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad you're curious about Sorabji. His music is often very impressionistic, dreamy and perfumed. Very special. As to the Faure, yes I love most of his songs and have recordings by Dame Janet Baker, Veronique Gens, and Dawn Upshaw to name a few.