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Costa-Gavras' Amen and Capital remind us of his political filmmaking power

Costa-Gavras on the set of Capital
Costa-Gavras on the set of Capital
Author's collection

The Cohen Film Collection is proud to announce that two major films by acclaimed director Costa-Gavras---Capital, the Oscar winner's most recent feature, and Amen, his César-winning historical drama from 2002---have been digitally remastered and will be released in deluxe Blu-ray and DVD editions on June 10.
Since his debut in 1965, the Greek-born, French-based filmmaker Costa-Gavras has created some of the screen's most impassioned works about man's battle against injustice, often fact-based dramas charged with the urgency of a thriller . . . from the story of a Greek political assassination in Z, an Uruguayan kidnapping and torture in State of Siege, to the Jack Lemmon-starring Missing, the tragic tale of an American journalist's murder during the Chilean coup of 1973. Capital and Amen continue in the director's tradition of shining a searing light on corruption and institutionalized evil.
Capital, based on the novel by Stephane Osmont and a prize winner at the San Sebastian Film Festival, is a fast-paced, darkly comic, suspenseful drama set in the high-stakes world of global finance. When the CEO of France's Phenix Bank collapses on the golf course, Machiavellian young executive Marc Tourneuil (played by Gad Elmaleh), is crowned as his replacement. A whirlwind of ruthless ambition, power struggles, greed and deception ensues as Tourneuil's brutal ascent is jeopardized by a hostile takeover attempt from a large American hedge fund led by Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne), erotic distractions from international supermodel Nassim (Liya Kebede), and adversaries with an agenda for destruction.Capital is a pointed commentary on how the Darwinian world of contemporary capitalism plays out across the global financial stage.
In Amen, based on Rolf Hochhuth's play The Deputy, Costa-Gavras creates a powerful and riveting account of the Final Solution that questions how much was known outside of Germany as mass exterminations were carried out in Nazi death camps. Ulrich Tukur stars as Kurt Gerstein, a German chemist whose work on various governmental health projects leads to his assignment as an SS officer in charge of hygiene. When he learns that Zyclon B, a toxic cleanser he created to stem the tide of typhoid among German troops, is being used in gas chambers, Gerstein is horrified. But his pleas to officials in Germany, Sweden and the U.S. to stop the genocide fall on deaf ears.
One person who does listen is Riccardo Fontana, a young Jesuit priest with ties to the Vatican and even Pope Pius XII. Ultimately, Gerstein and Fontana must fight a brave but lonely and dangerous battle to save the innocent. And themselves.
Two more brilliant examples why Costa-Gavras is the foremost political director in history.