>"Any resemblance to real events or people, living or dead, is not accidental. It is deliberate."
This anti-disclaimer opens Greek-French filmmaker Costa Gavras' Z (1969), a great and deeply polemical thriller that borrows liberally from the episodes of political corruption that defined late-1960s Greece. It's Gavras' keen commitment to those political truths that makes Z--which, owing to how "crazy" the Internet is, you can watch on YouTube--occasionally tedious. It is engrossing, but it doesn't have the svelte pacing that we've come to expect from these types of thrillers; it feels uncomfortable about its own fictions. It's there in that anti-disclaimer: a refusal of allegory and a reminder that audiences should chase the trail of dead right off screen, down the street, to the state house.
And now we have his son Romain Gavras, a gifted director of music videos, and his defiantly NSFW clip for M.I.A.'s "Born Free." The song itself (which I like) is further confirmation that M.I.A. isn't the radical Third World organic intellectual many admirers hoped she was/would become, regardless of how intrepid her recording studio globe-trotting or interview rhetoric might be. Such expectations were somewhat ridiculous to begin with, and "Born Free" is little more than a tantrum made sinister-sounding by the distorted heft she borrows from Suicide's "Ghost Rider." The song itself is pliable enough to be either a defense of her own life/career choices ("I don't wanna talk about money, 'cause I got it," presumably a reference to her "Born Wealthy" husband) or a moment of UDHR-set-to-music moralizing, or both. That slippery, contradictory quality is one of the reasons her music seems so thrilling, plastic-but-deep and ever timely.