In the prologue to Así habló el cambista ('thus spake the money changer'), we see how Jesus went to Jerusalem to throw the traders and money changers out of the Temple, which they had transformed into a den of thieves. "Jesus knew what he was doing", says money changer Humberto Brause (beautifully played by Daniel Hendler) in voice-over, more chirpy than guilty. "Bankers are the root of all evil. We are responsible for everything rotten in the world."
What follows is a cleareyed report on Brause's business dealings, set in and around Montevideo in 1975, 1956, 1962 and 1966, when military dictatorships and/or corrupt regimes held sway in South America. Once Brause has dirtied his hands to finance his life of luxury, there's no going back.
Así habló el cambista combines clinically directed family drama, black comedy and thriller elements. The camerawork and art direction contribute to the macabre atmosphere of this Uruguayan entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film.