State of Siege (1972)



Director:  Costa Gavras.

Starring:  Yves Montand (Philip Michael Santore), Renato Salvatori (Captain Lopez), O.E. Hasse (Carlos Ducas), Jacques Weber (Hugo), Jean-Luc Bideau (Este), Maurice Teynac (Minister of Internal Security), Yvette Etivant (Woman Senator), Evangeline Petersonm (Mrs. Santore), Harald Wolff (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Nemesio Antnez (President of the Republic), Mario Montilles (Assistant Commissioner Fontant), Andr Falcon (Deputy Fabbri), Jerry Brouer (Anthony Lee), Roberto Navarrete (Commissioner Romero), Douglas Harris (A.I.D. Director).

French film with English subtitles.


An assassination of an American in Uruguay is grounds for Americans getting bent all out of shape and calling for troops to teach those Uruguayan terrorists a lesson they won't still forget.  And the politicians will bet behind the call for force and actions follow.  Little time is spent asking if the US had any part in this killing, even if somewhat indirect?  No, self-examination is being "soft" on terrorism or "unpatriotic". 

But what if those Americans who wanted to look, could actually see ourselves from the eyes not of the fanatical US nationalists, but from the eyes of other observers who are not American or not constrained by the atmosphere of intimidation in the US. 

Fortunately for us, director Costa-Gavras gives us that second look at US actions, the blind fold of American nationalism being torn away and getting a chance to see things as they actually are, not the way we insist they should be. 

It turns out that the assassinated American was an agent sent to teach torture to the local police to get important information from the terrorists (or the "freedom fighters").  (As they say, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.)  

The Uruguayan regime banned this film because it exposed the true face of the dictatorship to the world.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.






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