For Reel

The Confession (1970)
December 11, 2016, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Costa-Gavras
5 Stars
the-confessionIn his follow-up to Z, Costa-Gavras abandoned the pace of a thriller for a more grueling, psychological aesthetic—rather than chases through city streets, The Confession finds Yves Montand increasingly broken by the captors who ceaselessly attempt to get him to self-incriminate. Montand’s performance of desperation is remarkable, but Costa-Gavras’ clever editing strategies do much to enhance the sense of dread. As Montand’s Anton Ludvik grows increasingly delusional due to sleep deprivation, Costa-Gavras fractures his editing all the more, jumping through flashbacks and even flash-fowards in the midst of an interrogation. Forced to wear welder’s glasses that look like a science fiction props and, in many sequences, psychologically jumping through time, one recalls Chris Marker’s La Jetée more than any like-minded political thrillers. Fittingly, as a film about injustice (the man is ultimately destroyed by a system he firmly believed in establishing), Costa-Gavras imagines a drama right out of Kafka, as faceless voices harang the victim to walk endlessly, take away his food after only a bite, and threaten his life all because he won’t provide answers for the questions that he doesn’t even know. In a story relating intense physical confinement, it’s this sense of psychological confinement that develops the film’s horror most explicitly.

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