Costa-Gavras, arguably the greatest living progressive filmmaker still shooting political pictures, is back with a new thriller about the banking industry, Capital. This behind-the-scenes expose of the banksters and their nefarious high finance manipulations and machinations is a fictional, highly entertaining counterpart to Charles Ferguson’s Oscar winning 2010 documentary Inside Job, about Wall Street’s massive defrauding of the people — at taxpayer expense. Capital is in French with some English, with Gabriel Byrne co-starring as an American-style banker seeking to impose U.S. policies on a European-based bank headed by Moroccan-born actor Gad Elmaleh, who has a penchant for quoting, of all people, Chairman Mao. “Let 1,000 flowers bloom,” and all that. Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede plays an elusive runway beauty — the stuff that capitalist fantasies are made of.
Prior to the 8:00 p.m. June 17 screening of Capital Costa-Gavras will be interviewed by the screenwriter of the rightwing agitprop Zero Dark Thirty, which glorifies the CIA and justifies torture, as well as of the Iraq War movie The Hurt Locker. In 1969 Costa-Gavras’s classic Z — about the assassination of Greece’s peace candidate and the overthrow of the government by the Greek colonels — was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and won the Oscars for Best Foreign Film and Best Editing. Costa-Gavras went on to make many leftist films, such as 1972’s State of Siege, about South American urban guerrillas, and 1982’s Missing, with Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, about the aftermath of the U.S.-backed coup against Chile’s democratically elected socialist President, Salvador Allende. Sparks may fly as the filmmakers at the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum encounter one another at the LA Film Festival extravaganza. “And in this corner…!”
In any case, the stylish, briskly paced Capital shows that at age 80, Costa-Gavras remains a master of political cinema and is at the top of his game.