This is not government-operated espionage or state-to-state espionage to uncover secrets or engage in sabotage. It's a transformation thereof that maintains the same kinds of methods but has a different appearance.
It's not a great movie. Mademoiselle Docteur (1937) that Pabst did the year before is better. It's simply another example from the French cinema that fits in with the American and British examples.
In addition, consistent with your observation that this kind of movie often featured heavy violence or torture, there is one chilling sequence in this movie of that. The bad guys get a coolie into the room and offer him a dollar coin, which he eagerly accepts. He then willingly allows them in his ignorance to administer a deadly drug that looks like a heart attack. This is merely so that the doctor-type with the drug can demonstrate its effectiveness to the society leaders. It's a total and chilling cold-blooded sacrifice of a human being.