Azor Review – bizarre conspiracy thriller about the complacency of the super-rich | Movies

PEvil is everywhere in this incredibly subtle and sophisticated film; a strange oppression in the air. Andreas Fontana is a Swiss director who makes his feature film debut with this conspiratorial drama-thriller, shot in a sort of parched white, about the occult world of super-wealth and the things we don’t talk about. The title is a Swiss banker’s code word in conversation for “Be silent”.

It takes place in 1980 in Argentina, at the time of the junta’s dirty war against leftists and dissidents, and it could be put alongside recent films like Rojo (2018) by Benjamín Naishtat and A Common Crime (2020 ) by Francisco Marquez, who sensed the almost supernatural fear among those left behind when people they knew disappeared and joined los desaparecidos, the missing. But Azor gives a nauseous new perspective on the horror of that time, and there is even a nauseous echo of the attitude of Swiss banks towards their German neighbors during World War II.

Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) is a Geneva private banker – elegant, discreet, excellent speaker of Spanish, English and French – who makes what appears to be an emergency diplomatic visit to appease his wealthy and secretive clients in Argentina. He does it with his elegant and supportive wife Inés (Stéphanie Cléau); his presence there is also meant to be emollient, to signal that there is nothing serious, and that it is almost a social call. Yvan’s clientele are deeply troubled by the new political regime, and it’s not just because one has a liberal-minded adult daughter who has inexplicably disappeared. The super-rich fear that their assets will be sequestered by the government. One of them talks about the “disappearance” of thoroughbred racehorses. And what’s even worse is that these people used to deal with René, Yvan’s colleague, a genius and exuberant figure who has also disappeared.

Yvan has no idea how or why René could have disappeared… but he did so in Buenos Aires. Oddly enough, René kept an apartment in the city and seems to have recently, in a strangely colonial way, ‘become indigenous’. Yvan searches in this now deserted apartment, finding only a list of the names of familiar clients and one more word: “Lazaro”. And in the final, chilling sequence involving a Conradian journey downstream, that word seems to refer to a secret new government contract or revenue-generating plan, a way to revive money from the dead: the kind of something a Swiss bank could help. Could it be that René is missing because he broke the Azor Code and told people about Lazaro? Or even invented Lazaro himself?

Part of the cold in Azor is the professional calm cultivated by Yvan and Inés; Yvan affects to never be really upset or upset by what happened to René and what is happening all around him. When the couple arrive in town, their car is stranded at a roadblock caused by military police who stop two young men at gunpoint. Fontana’s camera shows these two from a distance across the street with their hands raised, and then, in the next shot, there’s only one of them. Yvan and Inés look away.

With bizarre stupidity, Yvan is upset to lose clients because he is too conservative, too sober. A boorish owner of racehorses and his obnoxious lawyer announce to Yvan that they are moving elsewhere. An old Monsignor is impatient with the cautious Yvan, who does not want to get involved in the risky and vulgar world of currency trading. But all his conversations take place with an air of studied politeness. The fact that Yvan comes from Geneva meets with the approval of all because it was the favorite city of Jorge Luis Borges; the city that always remains the same. These people like private clubs, boxes reserved for men during races or, in a more relaxed way, stroll by the edge of private swimming pools. (It’s sort of like the swimming pool was an emblem of torpor and stagnation in Lucrecia Martel’s 2001 film La Cienaga, or The Swamp.)

There is something dreamlike about the series of social appeals that Yvan and Inés make to a succession of wealthy, elderly, melancholy people who feel their lives and prosperity are coming to an end but never respond to any feelings. emergency. It’s a film that continues to echo mysteriously in my head.

Azor is screened at the London Film Festival and releases in the UK on October 29.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button