“A political thriller written and shot so closely to the contemporary situation in pre-dictatorship Uruguay, it was almost a documentary. Starring Yves Montand and a large number of abducted Volkswagens.” A movie by Costa Gavras, 1972.
This fierce thriller by the Greek director Costa-Gavras remains one of the most crucial films of the 70s. Reading a report in a French newspaper about an American advisor named Dan Mitrione whose speciality was in “traffic and communications” and “public safety” had been kidnapped in Uruguay, director Costa-Gavras decided to go to Montevideo and do his own investigation. The results are incredible, as it becomes clear that Mitrione was actually a CIA Counter-insurgency expert who was training the Uruguayan police in brutal torture techniques. When this film came out it was attacked by the American government as a pack of scandalous lies, but within a few years everyone had to admit it was actually true. Interestingly enough, the so-called terrorist organization that kidnapped Mitrione was the Tupamaro guerrillas (and José Mujica, the current president of Uruguay, was a member). When this dynamic and gripping film hit the screens, it inspired many rebel groups to do the same… from the Weather Underground organization in America, to the Badder-Meinhof group in Germany. Starring Yves Montand as the Americano, and a delirious music score by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
In French, with English subtitles.