Pure evil is throughout on this unnervingly delicate, subtle film; an eerie oppression within the air. Andreas Fontana is a Swiss director making his function debut with this conspiracy drama-thriller, shot with a sort of desiccated blankness, concerning the occult world of super-wealth and issues to not be talked about. The title 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 dirty war in opposition to leftists and dissidents, and you might set it alongside current motion pictures together with Benjamín Naishtat’s Rojo (2018) and Francisco Márquez’s A Common Crime (2020), which intuited the virtually supernatural worry amongst these left behind when folks they knew had vanished and joined los desaparecidos, the disappeared ones. However Azor provides a queasy new perspective on the horror of these occasions, and there may be even a nauseous echo of the Swiss banks’ angle to their German neighbours within the second world conflict.
Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) is a personal banker from Geneva – elegant, discreet, a wonderful speaker of Spanish, English and French – who’s making what seems to be an emergency diplomatic go to to appease his well-heeled and secretive shoppers in Argentina. He’s doing so along with his elegant, supportive spouse Inés (Stéphanie Cléau); her presence there may be additionally meant to be emollient, to sign that nothing is significantly flawed, and that that is nearly by the use of a social name. Yvan’s clientele are deeply troubled by the brand new political regime, and it isn’t just because one has a grownup daughter with liberal views who has unaccountably gone lacking. The super-rich worry that they may discover their property being sequestrated by the federal government. One in all them talks of thoroughbred racehorses being “disappeared”. And what’s even worse is that these folks have 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 might have disappeared … however he has finished so in Buenos Aires. Unusually, Réné saved an condominium within the metropolis, and seems to have lately, in some oddly colonial approach, “gone native”. Yvan searches by means of this now abandoned flat, discovering solely an inventory of acquainted shopper names and yet another phrase: “Lazaro”. And within the last, chilling sequence involving a Conradian journey downriver, this phrase seems to seek advice from a brand new secret authorities contract or income-generating scheme, a approach of reviving cash from the useless: the kind of factor a Swiss financial institution might assist with. May or not it’s that Réné was disappeared as a result of he broke the azor code and informed folks about Lazaro? And even invented Lazaro himself?
A part of the chilliness in Azor is the skilled calm cultivated by Yvan and Inés; Yvan impacts by no means to be actually upset or distressed about what has occurred to Réné and what’s taking place throughout him. When the couple arrive within the metropolis, their automobile is held up at a roadblock brought on by the navy police arresting two younger males at gunpoint. Fontana’s digicam exhibits these two at a distance throughout the road with their arms up after which, within the subsequent shot, there is just one of them. Yvan and Inés look away.
With weird obtuseness, Yvan is upset about dropping shoppers for being too conservative, too sober. A boorish racehorse-owner and his obnoxious lawyer inform Yvan they’re taking their enterprise elsewhere. An aged monsignor is impatient with cautious Yvan, who doesn’t need to get entangled within the dangerous, vulgar world 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 a result of it was the favorite metropolis of Jorge Luis Borges; town that at all times stays the identical. These folks love personal golf equipment, gentlemen-only bins on the races or, in additional relaxed kind, hanging out by personal swimming pools. (It’s a bit of like the way in which the swimming pool was an emblem of torpor and stagnancy in Lucrecia Martel’s 2001 movie La Cienaga, or The Swamp.)
There’s something dreamlike within the collection of social calls that Yvan and Inés make to a succession of rich, aged, melancholy individuals who sense that their lives and their prosperity are coming to an finish however by no means reply to any sense of emergency. It’s a movie that continues to echo mysteriously inside my head.