A Swiss banker goes to Argentina to replace his colleague who has mysteriously disappeared. The country has just been taken over by a military dictatorship and young people are being routinely rounded up. As he interacts with the upper echelons of society who want to park their money abroad with his help, he cannot help notice the tension that has affected the creamy layers who are otherwise sympathetic to the new regime. He needs to tread carefully…
Debutant Andreas Fontana’s AZOR (2021, Argentine-French) is an extraordinary study of social mores and attitudes that act as a veneer to the social contradictions and political tensions that seethe below the surface, but never spill out. Fontana’s treatment is restrained; he never goes for the overkill in a potentially dramatic subject; and it is such distancing that makes the film all the more disturbing and eerie.
The icing on the cake is an interview of the director at the end of the film where he talks about his cinematic attitude, influences, and the personal diary of his grandfather who was also a banker – and the unwritten passages in it that had inspired him to fill in the gaps and make the film.
Streaming on MUBI.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.