Berlinale Encounters: Argentina, in the heart of darkness. About Andreas Fontana’s film AZOR.

AZOR by Andreas Fontana —

The Swiss private banker René Keys disappeared without a trace in the turmoil of the Argentine military dictatorship. Together with his wife Inés, his partner Yvan De Weil travels to Buenos Aires to find out what happened. Keys was responsible for maintaining contact with wealthy Argentine customers for the bank. In search of Keys, Inés and Yvan encounter immeasurably wealthy, but also terribly decadent and dubious nouveau riche, heirs to millions, nobles, the military, businessmen and clergymen who, it turns out, make common cause with the military regime if it works out financially for them. They invade a world of luxury hotels, private clubs, horse races and exclusive receptions, and watch the military arrest people on the streets again and again.

Inés and Yvan try to get their Argentine assets back to Switzerland. The connection between the banking world and the diplomatic corps and the Argentine junta plays an opaque role. The two dive deeper and deeper into a dark, dangerous world of greed, morality and power.

The Swiss director Andreas Fontana was born in Geneva, but previously worked as a production assistant in Argentina. His first short film, Cotonov Vanished, won an award at the Visions du Réel film festival, Pedro M, 1981 was nominated for the Swiss Film Prize. He wrote the script for his feature film debut AZOR together with Mariano Llinás.

AZOR is at times cumbersome and told slowly, sometimes bulky and distant. The main characters are told convincingly, but it is in the nature of their characters that we have a hard time following them and developing sympathy for them. Fontana’s convincing main cast (Fabrizio Rongione as Yvan De Weil and Stéphanie Cléau as Inés De Wiel) helps us with this. The fact that the brutality of the Argentine military government is only hinted at in small scenes has an oppressive, convincing effect.


Fabrizio RONGIONE, Stéphanie CLÉAU, Carmen IRIONDO , Juan TRENCH, Ignacio VILA, Pablo TORRE, Elli MEDEIROS, Gilles PRIVAT, Alexandre TROCKI, Agustina MUÑOZ


Producers – Eugenia MUMENTHALER & David EPINEY, Nicolas BREVIÈRE and Violeta BAVA & Rosa MARTINEZ RIBERO 
Production companies – Alina Film, Local Films and Ruda Cine
Screenwriter – Andreas FONTANA in collaboration with Mariano LLINAS
Cinematographer – Gabriel SANDRU
Editor – Nicolas DESMAISON

Running time – 100′
Language – French, Spanish

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