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Rachel Hayward

Figure 7 Special Section (1975), courtesy of The Festival Agency (Paris) Costa-Gavras’s 1975 film Special Section continued the director’s politically engaged filmmaking and saw him once again working with

in States of danger and deceit
Creating a model for a ‘commercial’ political cinema
Andy Willis

labelled a political thriller, was Z , directed by Costa-Gavras and written by Jorge Semprún. Together, as well as apart, the pair would have an enormous impact on the development of the form of the European political thriller as the 1970s progressed. Key to their collaboration in this period was the work they undertook on three landmark films: Z (1969), The Confession

in States of danger and deceit
Editor:

In this collection of new essays, issues emerge that open up numerous innovative approaches to Costa-Gavras’s career, among them: contemporary theories of adaptation, identity politics, reception, and affect, as well as his assessment of twentieth- and twenty-first-century political disorder. Costa-Gavras recontextualizes political history as individual human dramas and thereby involves his audience in past and contemporary traumas, from the horrors of the Second World War through mid-century international totalitarianism to the current problems of immigration and the global financial crisis. In order to capture the feeling of a political era, Costa-Gavras employs cinematic techniques from La Nouvelle Vague for his early films, documentary-like re-enactments for crucial moments of political tension of his renowned thrillers, and state-of-the-art aesthetics and technology for his latest ventures. The first half of this collection focuses upon the first twenty years of Costa-Gavras’s career, especially his development of the political thriller, the second half of this collection explores the past thirty years of his very productive filmic, thematic, and genre experiments. Costa-Gavras remains one of film’s enduring storytellers, theorists, and political commentators.

Andy Willis

Figure 5 State of Siege (1973), courtesy of KG Productions As with both Z and The Confession , the Costa-Gavras-directed State of Siege was based on real events, in this instance, the kidnapping of an American

in States of danger and deceit
Abstract only
Films screened as part of States of Danger and Deceit
Rachel Hayward
,
Ellen Smith
, and
Andy Willis

uncompromisingly radical groups such as the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. In response to this charged moment, a number of filmmakers across Europe turned to the format of the thriller. Stylish and enduringly popular with audiences, they saw it as the perfect vehicle through which to explore conspiracies, authoritarian regimes and political violence. Beginning with Costa-Gavras’s legendary Z

in States of danger and deceit
The European political thriller in the 1970s

In the 1970s, the ideological turmoil that marked the late 1960s and led to events such as May ’68 gave way to a more strident politics that involved stark contrasts between left and right. During this period, those within the establishment and those without seemed willing to act with violence to force the changes they sought for society. In response to this political moment, a number of European filmmakers turned to the format of the thriller as they sought to explore conspiracies, authoritarian regimes and political violence. States of Danger and Deceit: The European Political Thriller in the 1970s places key films (Z (1969), The Mattei Affair (1972), State of Siege (1972), The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975), Illustrious Corpses (1976)) and filmmakers (Costa-Gavras, Elio Petri, Francesco Rosi, Volker Schlöndorff) from across Europe into their historical political and social contexts before considering the ways they have impacted upon politically engaged filmmakers since.

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Costa-Gavras and microhistoriography: the case of Amen. (2002)
Homer B. Pettey

I think the next step for the cinema will be to go to that new kind of film, one which tries to explain the historical situation and all the connections which lead to that kind of history. Costa-Gavras 1 Exactness – accuracy – is impossible, given the time and space in which historical events take place and the time a film has available. But faithfulness to the ethic, to the human meaning, to the social significance of the historical events depicted in a film is absolutely necessary. Costa-Gavras 2

in The films of Costa-Gavras
Thomas Leitch

Some films focus on telling stories, others on creating worlds. Many of Costa-Gavras's films share a third focus broadly implied by their status as agitprop: to foster in their target audience a critical skepticism about institutions of political power – the Greek government in Z (1969), the Czech Communist Party in The Confession (1970), the leaders of the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) in Uruguay in State of Siege (1972). Missing (1982), Costa-Gavras's first American film, carries a more specific charge borrowed from its

in The films of Costa-Gavras
Comic melodrama
Jennifer L. Jenkins

Constantin Costa-Gavras's cinematic career has been dedicated to stories of political, social, and personal corruption in a body of work that defines the ‘political fiction film’, as John Michalczyk has termed it. 1 Across that oeuvre, ranging (non-chronologically) from Amen. to Z , twice Costa-Gavras has veered into comic territory. Conseil de famille (1986) and La petite apocalypse (1993) bookend Betrayed (1988) and Music Box (1989) , two films about the invisibility of evil within the family. These two comedies, by contrast, work in

in The films of Costa-Gavras
Hilary Neroni

The depiction of torture in Costa-Gavras's The Confession (1970) reveals the brutal methods employed by the government during the 1951 Slánský trial, one of several show trials in Communist Czechoslovakia. The film straightforwardly argues that the government tortured the defendants in order to extract the confessions that they wanted, and it exposes the incredible violence of the interrogation methods. Revisiting this film uncovers a significant historical difference with our contemporary debate about torture, which revolves around whether torture

in The films of Costa-Gavras