The author of the famous indictment novel “Z”, published a year before the dictatorship of the colonels in Greece, Vassilis Vassilikos, died Thursday at the age of 90 in Athens, announced his daughter, Euridice Vassilikou-Papantoniou. Agence France-Presse (AFP). “He had been unwell for several days and was hospitalized,” she said without further details.

His masterpiece “Z”, published in 1966 a year before the junta came to power, was adapted for the cinema by the Greek-French director Costa-Gavras three years later with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand and music by Mikis Theodorakis. “It’s an emotional shock. We saw Vassilis the day before yesterday, he was so happy to see us,” Michèle Costa-Gavras, the director’s wife, told AFP, arriving in Athens to see their “dear friend.”

The novel has been translated into 32 languages ​​and the film screened around the world. He won two prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and two Oscars.

A Greek political figure

In 1967, the artist appeared on the priority arrest list of the Greek police. A year earlier, he had recounted in “Z” the assassination of a left-wing deputy, Gregorios Lambrakis. Like all of Vassilikos’ works, this story remained banned during the seven years of military dictatorship that the writer spent in exile, mainly in Paris.

Born on November 18, 1933 in Kavala, Vassilikos grew up in Thessaloniki, the second Greek city in northern Greece. A student at a French high school, he is passionate about Gide, Sartre and Camus. After studying law, he studied directing for television in the United States.

Back in Athens, he worked as a journalist and screenwriter. After his Parisian exile, he returned to Athens in 1974 and became a columnist for a major newspaper. His “zoological sheets” where he compares ancient torturers to various prehistoric animals are particularly popular.

Chronicler of contemporary Greece and tireless socialist activist, he was elected in 2019 at the age of 85 as a member of the Greek parliament under the label of Syriza, the main opposition party.