Pure evil is throughout on this unnervingly refined, refined film; an eerie oppression within the air. Andreas Fontana is a Swiss director making his characteristic debut with this conspiracy drama-thriller, shot with one of those desiccated blankness, concerning the occult international of super-wealth and issues to not be mentioned. The identify is a Swiss banker’s code-word in dialog for “Be silent”.
It’s set in 1980 in Argentina, on the time of the junta’s grimy struggle in opposition to leftists and dissidents, and you have to set it along contemporary motion pictures together with Benjamín Naishtat’s Rojo (2018) and Francisco Márquez’s A Commonplace Crime (2020), which intuited the virtually supernatural concern amongst the ones left at the back of when folks they knew had vanished and joined los desaparecidos, the disappeared ones. However Azor offers a queasy new viewpoint at the horror of the ones instances, and there’s even a nauseous echo of the Swiss banks’ angle to their German neighbours in the second one international struggle.
Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) is a personal banker from Geneva – chic, discreet, a very good speaker of Spanish, English and French – who’s making what seems to be an emergency diplomatic consult with to assuage his well-heeled and secretive purchasers in Argentina. He’s doing so along with his chic, supportive spouse Inés (Stéphanie Cléau); her presence there may be meant to be emollient, to sign that not anything is severely unsuitable, and that that is nearly by means of a social name. Yvan’s clientele are deeply bothered by way of the brand new political regime, and it isn’t just because one has a adult daughter with liberal perspectives who has unaccountably long past lacking. The super-rich concern that they may to find their property being sequestrated by way of the federal government. Certainly one of them talks of thoroughbred racehorses being “disappeared”. And what’s even worse is that those folks had been used to coping with Yvan’s colleague Réné, a genial and exuberant determine who has additionally now vanished.
Yvan is completely at a loss as to how or why Réné may have disappeared … however he has accomplished so in Buenos Aires. Unusually, Réné stored an rental within the town, and looks to have lately, in some oddly colonial manner, “long past local”. Yvan searches thru this now abandoned flat, discovering just a record of acquainted shopper names and yet one more note: “Lazaro”. And within the ultimate, chilling series involving a Conradian travel downriver, this note seems to check with a brand new secret executive contract or income-generating scheme, some way of reviving cash from the useless: this kind of factor a Swiss financial institution may just lend a hand with. May it’s that Réné was once disappeared as a result of he broke the azor code and advised folks about Lazaro? And even invented Lazaro himself?
A part of the chilliness in Azor is the pro calm cultivated by way of Yvan and Inés; Yvan impacts by no means to be in reality disillusioned or distressed about what has took place to Réné and what is going on throughout him. When the couple arrive within the town, their automobile is held up at a roadblock brought about by way of the army police arresting two younger males at gunpoint. Fontana’s digital camera presentations those two at a distance around the boulevard with their palms up after which, within the subsequent shot, there is just one of them. Yvan and Inés glance away.
With odd obtuseness, Yvan is disillusioned about dropping purchasers for being too conservative, too sober. A boorish racehorse-owner and his obnoxious attorney inform Yvan they’re taking their industry somewhere else. An aged monsignor is impatient with wary Yvan, who does no longer wish to become involved within the dangerous, vulgar international of forex buying and selling. However all of his conversations happen in an air of studied politeness. The truth that Yvan comes from Geneva meets with everybody’s approval as it was once the favorite town of Jorge Luis Borges; town that at all times remains the similar. Those folks love personal golf equipment, gentlemen-only containers on the races or, in additional comfy shape, striking out by way of personal swimming pools. (It’s a bit of like the way in which the swimming pool was once a symbol of torpor and stagnancy in Lucrecia Martel’s 2001 movie Los angeles Cienaga, or The Swamp.)
There’s something dreamlike within the sequence of social calls that Yvan and Inés make to a succession of rich, aged, depression individuals who sense that their lives and their prosperity are coming to an finish however by no means reply to any sense of emergency. This is a movie that continues to echo mysteriously inside of my head.