Azor

Date Shown

4th Oct 2023

The Argentinian military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 state-funded film-making and heavily censored anything casting themselves in an unfavourable light. It wasn’t until after the democratic elections of 1983 that film-makers started to address the forced disappearance of thousands of opponents to the junta, and other human rights violations. ‘The Official Story’ (1985) probably the best known true account, follows the wife of a wealthy businessman who begins to unravel the horrifying realisation that her own adopted daughter may have been stolen from a family of ‘the disappeared ones; los desaparecidos’. This Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film opened the way for others to acknowledge what had been happening. ‘The Secret in their Eyes’ (2009) set during this politically turbulent time of death squads and secret police, is a fabulous edge of the seat nail-biting thriller and box-office smash hit, also winning the Foreign Language Academy Award.

   ‘Azor’ (2021) is a worthy addition to this oeuvre. A compelling conspiracy thriller where in 1980 a Swiss banker Yvan flies in from Geneva to reassure his bank’s wealthy clients that the disappearance of his predecessor in Buenos Aries is nothing to worry about and that their money is safe. As he travels around the country to fraught diplomatic meetings with various businessmen, church leaders and the military junta, Yvan is drawn deeper into the heart of Argentina’s political murkiness and danger. I loved this slow-build, menacing and claustrophobic film with its jaw-dropping reveal at the end. Azor is Spanish for ‘goshawk’, which in this context means – be quiet and/or careful what you say, so you’ll never hear about ‘the horror’.

Audience Reactions

A: 6, B: 13, C:16, D: 12, E: 03

 

A: (A )   Slow. Intriguing – Dirty business but finally the penny dropped – Scary! (A)  Great film (A)  Great acting; characters and situation slowly building, assisted by the great use of music. I can’t say that I enjoyed watching the corruption, greed and lies; reminds me too much of British figures in the public eye. However, I do like a film that makes your brain work! (A)

B: Frightening and baffling – who would want to be a Swiss banker? Even a private one! (B)    Thought-provoking. Great soundtrack/score (B)   Slow reveal storytelling. Inconclusive ending. (B)   Captured the time and place. Slightly frustrating pace. (B)    Intriguing and at times intimidating. (B)     Slow burner, but in the end an exposition on the inherent corruption that surrounds us. (B)   Good – I just hope I understood it correctly!  (B)   Beautifully atmospheric. Enjoyable and made me concentrate. (B)   Beautiful film, puzzling. Never trust Swiss bankers. (B)    Very absorbing. Great casting. Enriched and validated by the ending. (B)       

C:  Acting very good. Challenging – wish Keys had been found! More action needed.(C)    Well acted and presented but amazingly uneventful. (C)      What a milieu. Was it in the time of Galtieri? We none of us any the wiser who is part of that world. Well depicted. He might have been happier as a garden landscape artist. (C)   Intriguing and unfathomable. Sinister, atmospheric but what on earth was going on?! (C)    Atmospheric and menacing & beautifully acted – if only I knew what it was about! (C)    Enjoyed the politics of that period in both Argentina and Paris. (C)  Good but not great. Too subtle for me perhaps. (C)            I was intrigued and enjoyed trying to work out what was happening – made me keen to explore Argentinian history at that time. (C)    Very enjoyable up until the credits, a disappointing, unbelievable ending! (C)    I never believed the ‘hero’ was a banker, or in his relationship with his wife! In an English or American film I think the writing and casting would have made this work. (C)   Very insightful – Argentina and banking! (C)   Your father was right, “ Fear makes you mediocre.”(C)  Good, but what happened? (C)   Things could be worse here, I suppose. (Tory Party Conference…) (C)                                                                                                      

D: Okay… but… not sure I grasped that! (D)    Okay… but…  confused. (D)  No idea what was going on.(D)   Rather intriguing a world full of bluff and double bluff presumably sets in 70’s. Was it supposed to be funny? (D)   Very atmospheric and excellent dramatic effect but impossible plot to fathom (D)    Weird! (D)    What was all that about? Well acted (D)   Nothing really happened – still hazy about the plot! (D) 

IMDB details

Azor | September 10, 2021 (United States) 6.5

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Cast

...
Yvan de Wiel
...
Inès de Wiel
...
Veuve
...
Augusto Padel-Camón
...
Anibal Farrell
...
Dekerman
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Ambassadeur
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Guy Lombier
...
Leopolda
...
Magdalena Padel-Camón
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Decôme
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René Keys
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Chauffeur Ambassade
...
Concierge
...
Guido
...
Anita
...
Bibi Morris

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Countries: Switzerland, France, ArgentinaLanguages: French, Spanish, English

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