A MUBI release, Azor is a 2021 film by director Andreas Fontana, with a screenplay written by Fontana and Mariano Llinás. The film is an Argentine–French-Swiss drama that has been at sixteen film festivals including the 71st Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival 2021, Mar del Plata International Film Festival 2021 and various others. Azor stars Fabrizio Rongione as Yvan, Stephanie Cléau as Inés, Elli Medeiros as Magdalena Padel Camon, Alexandre Trocki as Frydmer, Gilles Privat as Lombier, Juan Pablo Geretto as Dekerman, Carmen Iriondo as Viuda, Yvain Juillard as Lombier, Pablo Torre Nilson as Tatoski and Juan Trench as Padel Camon. The runtime for the film is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
– Azor review does not contain spoilers –
Azor: A Swiss Banker in Argentina’s Dark World
The film divides itself into several parts to try to tell a story chronologically and with more direction. We have “The Camel’s Tour” followed up by “The Visits” which leads to “The Duel” and, “The Gala” and ultimately to the final segment, “Lazaro.” Set against Argentina’s hot political background of the 1980s, Azor keeps you on a loop of mystery never giving in too much or taking away the essence of eerieness from the screen and its characters. It almost feels like an impending doom hanging over everyone’s heads.
We meet Yvan De Wiel, a private banker who arrives in Argentina as a replacement to Rene Keys- a banker who has mysteriously disappeared in military-ruled Buenos Aires leaving behind a complex character and place to follow up. Yvan is also joined by his wife, Ines on this change of place who acts as his counterpart to reflect and compose the status of their arrival and what kind of a person the mysterious Mr. Keys was. As they try to move and settle into the society, they are put under uncalled for surveillance, which warns and coaxes them about the evils of the country and its hungry people.
Soon enough, Yvan finds himself untangling a sinister web of colonialism, high finance, and a nation’s “Dirty War” as he tries to find out more about his predecessor.
Director Andreas Fontana’s debut with Azor feels like reading a novel with a sinister plot that you can feel creeping under your skin but, cannot seem to find the stem of it. The audience is constantly controlled and challenged with their imagination as it is quite natural to think ahead and assume where the plot is heading in a thriller. But, it isn’t as predictable as it feels, because our director gives us a nonviolent approach to a rather violent drama. The actors, of course, shine in their respective roles. Especially Fabrizio Rongione, who ends the film with a smile that gives you a flashback of Florence Pugh’s one from Ari Aster’s 2019 film Midsommar.
Azor: Final Verdict
Azor is a low-key film with a slow-burning plot that keeps you engaged. Visually, the film is stunning, be it the lighting and colour palette used to determine the tone of the scenes or the landscapes that give a picturesque backdrop to our characters. It is intense and intriguing and, surely the one you should watch if you like slow-burning, almost evasive mystery thrillers.
You can watch the 2021 film Azor now exclusively streaming on MUBI.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.