The ominous thriller “Azor” by Swiss director Andreas Fontana. A mysterious secret within the junta, takes us to Argentina circa 1980. When the country was embroiled in a military-terrorist campaign. But ours is a solitary luxury place, where the fear of extinction applies more to assets than people. And rumours of bad things elsewhere still won’t interfere with cocktail nights, pool time, or racehorses.
For the percentage who are unsure whether they will step into a turbulent new world:
When third-generation Swiss banker Ivan (Fabrizio Rongione) and his elegant wife Ines (Stéphanie Cléau). Travel from Geneva to Buenos Aires. The well-developed but increasingly nervous clothing customer business will continue. It can be directed to them, the personal attention of the asset manager becomes essential security.
But Ivan’s tour of real estate, back rooms, and VIP lounges is also a question. That can’t answer quickly in a portfolio book or finance page. What happened to Ivan Keys’ partners. Who manages these accounts and who was lost?
Locks are a sensitive issue Ivan faces as he and Ines go out for a walk. But every time they visit, portraits of Ivan’s missing companion reinforce the feeling that something is wrong with his relationship. A wealthy customer admitted he had a close relationship with Keys. But his wife thought he was a “hated manipulator”. Is he brilliant but clumsy? To hide something? For something?
On the one hand, Fountain and co-writer Mariano Linas’ well-crafted script architecture is a classic puzzle. With possible victims, violent environments, mysterious clues, and a devious figure could save something for the missing. In that sense, it’s tempting to think of Keyes, the seemingly sly person who maintains the intimacy. That allows him to work – as an absence/presence. In the form of Harry Lyme in the classic noir The Third Man.
Except that neither Orson Welles answered the question of intentions and circumstances with a lofty personality. Nor Joseph Kotten, who morally described excellent and evil. And Fontana wants to make his mood-conscious script boil. No real escalation of tensions. Only a magnetically alert Rongione diplomatic performance is guiding us. As Ivan reconciles with his business partner, treacherous weather temperatures and the best course of action.
This creates an uncomfortable form of moral tension:
After all, the film is set in a rare world. Where our protagonist takes over the protection of the more affluent junta supporters in one scene. Especially when the calm and calculating Ines. Beautifully played by Cleo – is there to keep her husband on the cutting edge of “mediocrity fear”. And nothing is more troubling than a sharp-eyed monsignor (the great Pablo Torre Nilsson). Who talks about buying and selling stocks with the same objectivity. As about parasites that need to be eradicated, “even in the best of families.”
To an impatient viewer, the lack of clarity on the best aspects of the high-funding and protagonist. And the lack of period-related updates on the political situation may seem confusing. But Azor works without them. As those details only detract from the seductive artistic coolness. That Fontana gains through her impeccable performance and design.
As well as Gabriel Sandro’s cinematography is reminiscent of the great ’70s cinematographer Gordon Willis, who used clear, precise compositions. It is clear to give space certain privileges and powers as perpetual and carefree stagnation. These are Ivan’s people, after all, and as this portrait of damn private banking shows. He’s prepared to navigate them as vigorously. In the worst of times as he does in the best of times.