A minor but charismatic government official, "The Deputy" (Montand), is scheduled to speak at a rally against NATO and the bomb. The local authorities try unsuccessfully to shut the rally down. Violence threatens between peaceniks gathered to hear the speaker and right-wingers who turn out to be cozy with the military and police; in the bristling confusion, a thug clubs The Deputy and shatters his skull. He lingers a day or two, then dies in surgery. It was an assassination, although the military and political powers that be aren't particularly interested in identifying it as such. An Examining Magistrate (Trintignant) and a sneaky Photojournalist (Perrin) chip away at the truth, but the vast corruption surrounding them promises to bury it. This 1969 political thriller directed by Costa-Gavras is based on a novel by Vassilis Vassilikos about true events in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1963. Although the country and names are omitted (the film had to be shot in Algiers), the director makes his aims clear enough in a note: "Any resemblance to actual events, to persons living or dead . . . is DELIBERATE." Slow and confusing at first, the film gathers momentum and emotional force as it rolls.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus