Invasión (1969) - 7/10
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
We’re in Aquileia, Argentina in 1957 for this most unusual drama. It’s dark, tense, moody and black and white of course. Very cloak and dagger. Quite subjective. A shipment has arrived at the port, border guards are shot as its smuggled into the city on a truck. Don Porfirio (Juan Carlos Paz) makes a phone call. Herrera (Lautaro Murúa) has a pocket full of bullets. Irene (Olga Zubarry) picks up a mysterious package. Everyone is getting ready. They’re awaiting an Invasion. Maybe it’s the lack of colour, maybe the language I don’t speak, maybe the henchmen in dark suites, but it’s gripping stuff. Herrera is confident. A leader, full of cold stares and carefully chosen words. To be honest there’s a lot of cold stares. Time is taken, very little rashness, this is serious... although I’m not quite clear what everyone is being serious about. Herrera gets accosted by a gang of men in light trench coats and before long, shots are fired and cars are chased with some lovely camera work. Herrera is supposed to intercept the truck, whilst Porfirio orchestrates things from his flock wallpapered apartment with his faithful black cat. It’s a stylish thriller full of romantic swagger and venomous cool. Clearly shot silent, with added foley sound, it has a sparse energy to it which gets quite unnerving, but it adds nicely to the tension. There’s a pretty large cast, but because of its thoughtful pace, it’s easy to follow and appreciate. It’s clear who the main players are. Like Irene and Herrera who seem to be an item, but also appear to be on opposite sides. Sides of a political feud, territory, sovereignty, I don’t think it matters. It’s all about the battle of two opposing parties, determined to undermine and defeat the other. Clearly one good clinging to freedom, one bad hellbent on control. We’re only ever really shown one side, clear where our allegiances are intended to lie. So when Herrera finds himself interrogated by the other side, it makes what’s already a fantastic scene all the more magnificent. It’s remarkably easy to watch, despite being pretty brutal with a fair amount of bloodshed on both sides. The sound, although added, is marvellous. The cinematography, acting, edit are all outstanding. Not to mention the action, that as the film goes on, becomes relentless. Our cast dwindling, paying the price of their convictions, until Herrera finds himself faced with an inevitable reality. Tiny details aren’t really important, it’s the atmosphere created that makes this so good. Director Hugo Santiago seems to have an interesting story, fleeing Argentina to Paris in the aftermath of a coup that eerily took place a decade after Invasión. His filmography is sparse, but I’m inclined to dig deeper on the strength of this.