The year 2007 in American movies began with a triumph ~ David Fincher’s Zodiac
. It is something new in cinema, a haunting meditation on the pursuit of verifiable truth across the passage of time. Fincher and his collaborators conducted their own investigation into the case of the legendary Zodiac killer, who terrorized Northern California from the late 1960s through the mid-’70s. The result is a film like no other, that focuses on the search rather than the conclusion, the exhausting process of assembling facts and piecing them together throughout months and years, with multiple obstacles, disappointments and discouragements along the way.
We're screening the director’s cut,which is seven minutes longer than the theatrical version, in HD ~ the way it was meant to be shown. Afterwards, David Fincher (Seven
, Fight Club
, Panic Room
) will make a rare public appearance, joining Kent Jones, associate director of programming at the Film Society and editor-at-large of Film Comment magazine, on the stage of the Walter Reade Theater for a conversation about this remarkable film. Zodiac
is, for anyone who lived in America during the period in which it is set, a stunningly accurate portrait of a time and a series of places (a deserted parking lot, a stretch of countryside, a San Francisco street corner, a desolate two-lane highway at night). And it is tuned to the rhythm of life: the action does not unfold at the wish-fulfilled, hyper-revelatory pace of virtually all procedural thrillers, but at that of everyday existence, in which interest and energy wane and only the most obsessive are in it for the long haul. It is exciting, but in a very unusual way: one salient detail after another––of mood, setting, character, intrigue––is layered into a mosaic in the mind of the viewer. And, from its first scenes of July 4 in deepest suburbia to an 80 percent certain identification 20 years later in an airport holding area, it is a profoundly haunting and even strangely moving experience.