The feature debutant Andreas Fontana set the plot of his film somewhere in the late 1970s or early 1980s in Argentina, during the rule of the military junta when thousands of people disappeared and their land and real estate were simply stolen. Sometime at the height of that dirty war and at a time when the situation in Argentina was in full swing, a private banker from Switzerland, Yvan de Wiel (Fabrizio Rongione), arrived in Buenos Aires in the company of his wife Ines (Stephanie Cleau). His primary task is to find out what happened to his partner Keys, who mysteriously disappeared, and he was previously in charge of arranging business in Argentina and similar countries. Everyone keeps mentioning Keys and is amazed that he is no longer in charge of business, and it is obvious that this is a completely different world from what De Wiel is used to.
It soon becomes clear to us that Keys in Argentina had some different negotiating methods with potential clients, the elite of the military junta who seems to understand that the time for raking is coming to an end and they are trying to gather as much as possible in the short term. Keys acts as a mysterious, ubiquitous figure whose name we constantly hear and never see, almost like Harry Lime from Reed’s “Third Man.” In the moments of his disappearance he left an important job unfinished and now De Wiel is here to finish it. From the first moments when they arrive in Argentina, it is clear to them that this is a completely different world from the one they are used to. The atmosphere is constantly mysterious, obviously something very bad is happening there, so on the way from the airport to the hotel they come across police patrols that pull people out of cars and push them in front of the wall with rifles. When they arrive at the hotel, the old receptionist assures them that the situation is getting better, but nothing is really as it should be.
De Wiel spends time in meetings with various obscure guys, going to social gatherings in elite clubs where various businessmen, politicians and leading churchmen gather with the generals. All of them seem to be part of a narrow circle that has obviously made great profits and is trying to find modules to insure its assets in a safe or Swiss bank. Paranoia is perhaps the best word to describe the state of mind among the society that a banker will find there, and the film is a kind of cold, dark atmosphere in which all these guys behave somehow naturally, normally, although it seems that nothing is normal. The brilliant “Azores” depicts the social situation in Argentina of that period, and told from the perspective of elites, thieves and murderers who grabbed everything they could and killed and expelled those who dared to turn against them.
And all this is completely natural to them, like in the jungle where stronger and bigger animals devour the smaller and weaker ones and it is a completely natural state of affairs for them. This is how it is done and there is nothing controversial about anyone. The very name of the film “Azores” is a kind of code that means watch what you say or be quiet, and this film was made in an Argentine-Swiss co-production. Screenwriter and director Andreas Fontana found inspiration for the film in a letter he found among the belongings of his father, a Swiss private banker who was probably a guy resembling the film’s main character. In that letter, the old man documented a trip to Argentina at the time, and in it he makes no mention of what is actually going on there, but only thinks of business. So it is here. De Wiel is the guy aware that there is something very rotten and rotten, he would not want to interfere in it much more than necessary, just as much as he needs to provide business and money to his bank. Rating 7/10.
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