State of Siege

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State of Siege
(État de Siège)
Directed by Costa-Gavras
Produced by Jacques Henri Barratier
Léon Sanz
Written by Franco Solinas
Costa-Gavras
Starring Yves Montand
Renato Salvatori
O.E. Hasse
Music by Mikis Theodorakis
Cinematography Pierre-William Glenn
Distributed by Cinema 5 Distributing
Release date(s) 1972
Running time 120 min
Language French

State of Siege (French title: État de Siège) is a 1972 French film directed by Costa Gavras starring Yves Montand and Renato Salvatori.

Summary[edit]

Yves Montand plays Philip Michael Santore, an official of the United States Agency for International Development (an organisation sometimes used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods). Posted to Uruguay in the early 1970s, Santore is kidnapped by a group of urban guerrillas. The story is based on an actual incident in 1970 when U.S. Embassy official Dan Mitrione was kidnapped and killed.

Using Santore's interrogation by his captors as a backdrop, the film explores the often brutal consequences of the struggle between the repressive government of Montevideo and the leftist Tupamaro guerrillas. Using death squads, the government decimates the revolutionary group, whose surviving members vote to execute the smugly calculating Santore, who is accused of arranging training in torture and political manipulation. In the finale a replacement U.S. official arrives, watched from the crowd by a defiant and angry survivor of the radical group.

Cast[edit]

Response[edit]

The film opened to positive reviews from critics and is regarded as one of Costa-Gavras' finest works since the 1969 film Z. While it was released one year later in American theaters, a storm of controversy developed. Many U.S. officials hated the movie and even stated that it was a heap of lies about U.S. involvement in Latin America and other third world countries. In Washington, D.C., it was removed from a special screening at the John F. Kennedy Center,[1] only to be run uncut on a local TV station. Before the 1970s ended, many who decried the film as false found themselves admitting involvement in Latin America, this during the investigations and committee hearings on the CIA and other government groups.[citation needed]

Music[edit]

Mikis Theodorakis used the same melodies that he later used in Canto General.

Awards[edit]

The film was nominated to the Golden Globes as Best Foreign Language Film and won the UN Award at BAFTA Awards.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miller, Michael R. (18 April 1973). "State of Siege: Undesirable". The Cornell Daily Sun 89 (129) (Cornell University Library). Retrieved 16 April 2014. 

External links[edit]