Final Friday Films
Continuing the Anti-Bourgeois Film Series
“The problem is not to make political films but to make films politically.” —Godard / Gorin
France, 1973, 121 minutes
Directed by Costa-Gavras
featuring Yves Montand
State of Siege details the overt and covert practices of the Agency for International Development throughout the world, with a particular emphasis on events that took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1970. The actual taking of supposed American ambassador Daniel Mitrione by Tupamaro guerillas as a hostage for the release from prison of fellow Tupamaros, details in interviews themany training exercises conducted by American forces in both the US and Latin America, concerning psychological and physical torture techniques, which were accompanied by broad austerity measures and implementation of anti-trade union measures and broad militaristic attacks on other working class organizations.
In State of Siege, Mitrione is known as Philip Santore, is well-played by Yves Montand. The rightist military government of Uruguay would never have allowed Costa-Gavras to film in Uruguay. Instead, it was filmed in Chile, in and around Santiago, and in the coastal cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. during the brief time of Salvador Allende, just before the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, planned with Nixon and Kissinger with Pinochet, in much the same way in which American policy is detailed in the staged interviews in State of Siege. Costa-Gavras would later dramatize the Chilean coup in the film Missing.