Argentine film suggests political violence between whispers – Sylvia Colombo

No blood, shootings or torture. “Azor” exposes the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983) from another angle, that of those who were behind human rights abuses, but who did not stain their hands with dirty work, maintained a cruel silence in the face of political and political clashes. profited a lot in the period. In the city where they live, there is little to see protests and arrests. Its bubble seems to consist of pretty gardens with a swimming pool, equestrian estates and social club lounges.

A Swiss-Argentine production that will debut in Brazil in the coming weeks, “Azor” takes place in Buenos Aires in 1980, with the arrival in the country of banker Yvan de Wiel (Fabrizio Rongione) and his wife, Ines (Stéphanie Cléau). Although they know, roughly, what is happening in the country, the Swiss couple keep their focus on something else: how to keep the accounts of wealthy European bank customers after their partner and representative in the country, René Keys, mysteriously disappeared?

In a film of silences and murmurs, the presence of the missing person stands out. Everyone knows something about him, but the puzzle about what happened to him doesn’t seem to close. His apartment, like a Borgean labyrinth, was abandoned with open doors and unsmoking cigarettes. Little by little, we learn that he was doing parallel business, but would it be alongside the subversives or the head of the regime? The reference to “The Third Man” by Graham Greene is clear.

Spoken in French and Spanish, “Azor” is a political thriller, a suspense narrated in an atmosphere of furious tension, although hardly vocalized. The action is practically non-existent and the dialogues, meager and subtle, accompany De Wiel’s slow awareness. At first, he seems to be horrified by what he hears, afraid of taking a false step, and frightened by what he imagines might be happening. Little by little, he enters the game of seduction and betrayal of his interlocutors: businessmen, Church leaders, soldiers, ladies of high society.

Azor, in this context, is slang among bankers, which reveals the precaution that must be taken in the labyrinth the film is getting into. Another clear reference is Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”, with De Wiel in search of his own Mr. Kurtz, and “the horror” drawn in the story of the Argentine lead years.

Directed by Argentine Andreas Fontana, who grew up in Switzerland, the film has excellent performances, such as the protagonist and Pablo Torre Nilsson, who embodies Monsignor Tatoski, supporter of the dictatorship and who bets on horses and the stock market. The suffocating atmosphere of the plot also leads to thinking about the universes created by another Argentine, Lucrecia Martel. Unlike her, however, “Azor” has the action in a big, bustling and sophisticated city.

In a country that has already produced dozens of good titles about its military dictatorships, “Azor” stands out for the originality of its look and the sophistication of its plot. After parading through the Berlinale and foreign festivals, he lands in Brazil in November.

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