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State of Siege (1972)

État de siège (original title)
In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by ... See full summary »

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, (original scenario) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Philip Michael Santore
...
Captain Lopez
...
Carlos Ducas
Jacques Weber ...
Hugo
Jean-Luc Bideau ...
Este
Maurice Teynac ...
Minister of Internal Security
Yvette Etiévant ...
Woman Senator
Evangeline Peterson ...
Mrs. Santore
Harald Wolff ...
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Nemesio Antúnez ...
President of the Republic
Mario Montilles ...
André Falcon ...
Deputy Fabbri
Jerry Brouer ...
Anthony Lee
Roberto Navarrete ...
Commissioner Romero
Douglas Harris ...
A.I.D. Director
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Storyline

In Uruguay in the early 1970s, an official of the US Agency for International Development (a group used as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods) is kidnapped by a group of urban guerillas. Using his interrogation as a backdrop, the film explores the often brutal consequences of the struggle between Uruguay's government and the leftist Tupamaro guerillas. Written by Erich Schneider <erich@alumni.caltech.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

8 February 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

State of Siege  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was going to be the first movie shown in the new John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. It was cancelled because the plot of the movie was judged to be inappropriate. This caused a big controversy. A Washington D.C. television station took advantage of the controversy by acquiring the broadcast rights to the film and showing it uncut after running a big advertising campaign calling it the "film banned from the Kennedy Center." See more »

Goofs

The name of the Brazilian Ambassador in Uruguay is Fernando Campos (the name is revealed throughout the film). But in the beginning of the film right before his kidnap his name appears on a sign at his house as Roberto Campos. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Dancer Upstairs (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Torture American style
1 November 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Forty-three years after its release 'Sate of Siege' has not lost its bite.Uruguay has moved on his the days of the 'Tupermaros, an urban guerrilla group, who opposed the 'democratic' government in Montevideo, supported by the US government sponsored terrorist training of the military and the policy. Yves Montand is Philip Michael Santore, a police man from Chicago, who is sent under the cover of the Agency for International Development, in the hot spots of Latin America in the 1960s and early 70s, to beef up the armed forces and police in Santo Domingo, Brazil and Uruguay. In reality, Santore teaches torture--electric shock, water boarding, black sites and the like, to combat as he says Communists and rescue Christian civilization from left-wing radicals in opposition to authoritarian rule. We didn't need to await George W Bush for the US to fight 'terrorism', since the measures of torture and coercion were already in place. And are still taught today in the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security (once known as the School of the Americas). The name has changed but not the mission. The deft hand of Costa-Garvas advances the narrative; it is a matter-of-fact rendering of a kidnapping; it has that telegraphic style of reporting, with communiques issued daily on the state of health of the kidnapped three (a Brazilian diplomat, Santore and another American working under cover at the US embassy). And then, there are the demands: you release our comrades and allow them to seek asylum in a third country. But the government doesn't budge. It--surprise--is unaware that the likes of Santore is in the country, doing his training in torture...wink, wink. Questions are raised in parliament by the left and center parties, but they are ignored by denial. The Nixon administration wouldn't rescue Santore by pressuring Montevideo to meet the Tupamaros demands. At the same time, the chief of police, played by the underrated Renato Salvatore, undertake to find the guerrillas and put them out of action or make them disappeared. The music by Theodakis sustains the tension. In the end Santore's body is found in the boot of an automobile. The film opens with a funeral mass in the Cathedral, and from there, in a long flashback...the story of Santore is told. He is replaced, but at the airport as the new 'AID' man descends with wife and two children, a Tupamaro watches...for no matter how many urban guerilla had been rounded up torture, killed or...the network has survived. Costa-Garva's camera is records: he has used it effectively in 'Z' as he did in 'State of Siege'. Although times have changed, not so America's repressive methods as the world's policeman. Somewhat weakened by the phony Bush war in Korea and the stupidity of Libya and idiocy in Syria, let alone the quagmire in Afghanistan. 'State of Siege' ends on a confident tone since the US is still losing in Vietnam. And Brazil and Uruguay is a panel in Che Guevara's call for one, two or Vietnam to challenge American imperialism. On one hand, the film is a chapter in history; on the other, it is powerful recall that little has changed in the nature of US imperial pretensions.


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