Film directors used to pull their villains, good guys and drama from bloody coups, historical battlefields and the fantasy worlds of comic books. But since the financial crisis, they’ve increasingly been turning to sinking banks, corrupt hedge funds and king-making stockholders. That’s the territory plowed by Costa-Gavras’ latest feature, Capital, which opened in the U.S. late last month. Costa-Gavras, whose 22 films include Z, an account of the 1967 overthrow of the Greek government that won an Oscar for best foreign language picture in 1969, says he looks for ways to address universal themes like law and justice, oppression, violence and torture. The Greek-French director’s 1982 Missing, starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, is about a U.S. journalist who disappeared in Chile after the country’s 1973 military coup.

Costa-Gavras, 80, became intrigued by the unwritten rules of international finance after reading French author Stéphane Osmont’s 2004 novel Le capital. His script for Capital, based on the book, centers on Marc Tourneuil (Gad Elmaleh), the power-hungry CEO of France’s Phenix Bank, who finds himself in the middle of a dangerous battle among management, shareholders and a U.S. hedge fund.

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