State of Siege
|State of Siege
(État de Siège)
|Produced by||Jacques Henri Barratier
|Written by||Franco Solinas
|Music by||Mikis Theodorakis|
|Distributed by||Cinema 5 Distributing|
|Running time||120 min|
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 a fictional South American country in the early 1970s, Santore is kidnapped by a group of urban guerrillas. The story is based by Costa Gavras on an actual incident in Uruguay 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.
- Yves Montand - Philip Michael Santore
- Renato Salvatori - Captain Lopez
- O.E. Hasse - Carlos Ducas
- Jacques Weber - Hugo
- Jean-Luc Bideau - Este
- Jacques Perrin
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, 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.
Mikis Theodorakis used the same melodies that he later used in Canto General.
- État de siège at the Internet Movie Database
- Review of the movie by Roger Ebert
- Pages 58–59 TIME Magazine 23 April 1973