Several of my favorite films were directed by Greek-French film director Costa-Gavras. Z, State Of Siege, Missing, and the Confession. The mixing of the thriller genre and universal political themes not only makes for very interesting films but also thought provoking ones.
His first serious film was Z. A film that won Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. It follows an idealistic judge investigating the killing of left wing politician. A fatal club strikes said politician and a cover up story of a drunk driver emerges. The film appears to end on a positive ending however at the very end those about to be criminally charged seize power. This ending the result of frustration related to the US-backed coup in Greece.
State of Siege was based on Costa-Gavras’s and Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers Screenwriter) investigation into Daniel A. Mitrone. Mitrone was kidnapped and eventually executed by Tupamaros urban guerrillas in Uruguay. Costa-Gavras read news headlines that changed his description from Official to Policeman to Diplomat. Why would the Tupamaros be interested in an “traffic and communications” adviser?
This movie has a similar outline as Z as both were meant to be frustrating critically commentary of events at the time. The actions look pointless but there are no alternative choices apparent. The urban guerrillas will continue to fight,the government will continue to use US taught torture methods, and US companies will continue to exploit the country.
Missing is revolves around an American journalist Charles Horman who is as the title implies missing after the September 11, 1973 Chilean Coup. It stars Sissy Spacek as Charles’s wife and Jack Lemmon as the Father as they search together to find him. Jack plays an conservative american who has to confront a truth he would rather avoid: the depth of US complicity in Pinochet’s coup.