State of Siege
In 1970, Costa-Gavras was looking into CIA operations in Latin America and discovered the existence of a certain Dan Mitrione, an agent specialized in “anti-terror strategies” (a euphemism for torture tactics) who was happy to lend a hand to south-American dictators. Fascinated by the sheer cynicism of such a character, Costa-Gavras decided to make it the subject of his next film: STATE OF SIEGE. Yves Montand played Philip Michael Santore (a fictional alias of Mitrione) who is abducted by the Tupamaros, a revolutionary group from Uruguay. The film defies all classical narrative techniques (Santore dies within the first few minutes) and is impossible to be politically pigeon-holed due to its universal nature. STATE OF SIEGE, which was nominated for the Golden Globes and the Bafta, was at the time the ultimate warning against America’s interference in South-America. Ironically its bombshell release coincided with the coming to power of Pinochet in Chili. Fifty years later, it’s fascinating – not to say absolutely terrifying – to see how relevant this film still is today.