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First, let me start by saying that some knowledge of the events
depicted in this film would come useful. I'm Chilean and lived in the
country at the time so I knew what to expect, but foreigners and
especially younger audiences might not. Back in 1989, there was a
referendum to decide if Augusto Pinochet, Chile's dictator for the past
15 years, would stay on for another 8 or democratic elections would be
held instead. The choices were "YES" for 8 more years of military
dictatorship and "NO" for democratic elections to be held at the end of
1989. This film is a depiction of the political, social and creative
aspects that shaped the ad campaign created by those who supported the
option "NO" (hence the title of the film) the problems they faced in
creating it and the memorable result achieved.
Of course, there were several other aspects that sealed Pinochet's fate as President besides a creative ad campaign, but this movie is a worthy effort to show how a country really came together and changed its destiny focusing on joy and creativity and trying to leave behind fear and anger. It's filmed video-style which really gives it an 80s look and feel; there are several real-life images and video clips which are a nice treat, because they show what the charged social atmosphere was really like back in those months. You don't need to be a Chilean to like this movie; the script and acting are top-notch and it's not a propagandistic film at all. I actually thought it was pretty objective considering this is really a polarizing subject matter in my country; the audience laughed several times and seemed to truly enjoy it. For film lovers in general, it's an intelligent piece of cinema; for History buffs an objective perspective on how things went down. For everybody else, a fun film to watch regardless. I recommend it hands down.
I'm from Chile and i feel very connected to the film. I'm not old
enough to say that I lived that situation. But I feel like I lived it.
I investigated a lot about the Chilean dictatorship and i know much
about it. I think the film says everything I know about that, but
grouped in 1 hour and 45 minutes of film. The style of the camera gives
an 80's environment that makes the film look like a documentary. What I
like is that the movie was easy to understand, charismatic, funny and
very "Chilean"(i mean the accent and the modern culture). It has a
dense ambient but gets soften with funny scenes.
What a captivating film this is. Gael Garcia Bernal is good as usual,
an actor who just keeps getting better and better, in this movie that
shows the campaign that ousted Pinochet from office from the p.o.v. of
the ad guys who tailored each side's messages.
Good PR work that frames the debate and sets the narrative for the campaign wins political campaigns.
The movie is thoughtful, funny, absorbing. Quality all around. You don't need to know anything about Chile to get swept up by it, and if there are details you want to know, you can go read about it afterwards.
I especially liked that it looked like a documentary video and a time- capsule from that era. It seamlessly mixes stock footage with filmed stuff to give it a dated look.
I only knew about this film from Chile simply entitled "No" because it
was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Before watching the film
I learned that this film would be starring a known star, Mexican actor
Gael Garcia Bernal (of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" fame). I was more intrigued
to make this the first Chilean film I would ever watch.
"No" refers to the vote of "No" in a national referendum held in Chile in 1988 with the question of extending the dictatorial presidency of Augusto Pinoche for another eight years. Hip young advertiser Rene Saavedra (Bernal) was tasked to lead the advertising campaign for the impossible "No" vote. His modern methods meet resistance within the "No" camp. It also put his and his family's safety at risk. Will Saavedra's unorthodox political advertising techniques get the job done?
I found this account of Chile's recent history very educational and interesting. As I also come from a country that lived through and deposed a dictator through a peaceful revolution just a year or so before this event in Chile history, I recognize and identify with the experience and sentiments of the people involved.
I did not know whether "Yes" or "No" won, so there is very palpable suspense while watching this very realistic film. It felt like a documentary in its faded color palette, gritty camera work, accurate production design, and interweaving of actual news footage. It was also quaint in the cultural sense, as we learn about unique societal attitudes and behavior in Chile, a country I know very little about.
Maybe its chances of winning the Oscar are not too big since it is up against the higher profile "Amour", which is also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. However, I am thankful for its nomination because this history buff has learned a lot from this film.
Preceded by Tony Manero and Post Mortem, No completes Pablo Larrain's
loose trilogy about life under Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.
Albeit conceived in strong historical and socio-political context; this
story is a simple tale centered on young advertising executive, René
Saavedra (portrayed with flair by enigmatic chameleon, Gael García
Bernal) thus making the film accessible to a wide range of foreign
The time is 1988 and Pinochet has been in power since 1973. In a calculated move to mitigate external pressure against his ironfisted regime, Pinochet confidently initiates a national referendum calling on citizens to vote and decide, whether an eight-year extension into 1996 is valid. The probabilities of course, are carefully measured and his likelihood of winning is rock solid.
In this heartfelt homage to Chilean history, both sides are attempting to secure voters by fighting it out via 30-minute spots on TV 15- minutes for the "Yes" camp and 15-minutes for "No".
An agency that employs René has been commissioned to design a series of ads for the Government of Junta; with bossman Luis Guzmán (Alfredo Castro) helping Pinochet. Conflicts of interest arise when René exercises his liberty as a freelancer in contra to formulate the opposition's campaign.
Story begins with a cold open showing creative grit René is previewing a new commercial with clients in the beverage industry. Within the first few minutes, we find out who he really is a shrewd and introspective creative director, highly sought after in the business, bit of a rebel in the vein of Don Draper someone who believes in unorthodox methods and selling the notion of freedom.
A sudden visit from opposition manager José Tomás Urrutia, interrupts his meeting with the clients. In conversations between René and José interfused with a dinner scene between René and his boss, Luis we drift through a climate of skepticism surrounding the legitimacy of Pinochet's reign, residual fears evolved from the red scare, and reservations about United States after their alleged involvement in the Chilean Coup of 1973. Accusations and recriminations are spewed in hushed, civil tones. Disparity in views (as they are in life) are documented in raw, unfiltered strides.
In a sequence depicting René's journey home on a skateboard, audacious visual-aural symphony amplifies his transformation, and the situation about to unfold. A representative of young blood, it is here that Larrain's spunky protagonist displays progressive streak coursing through his veins, thus establishing an emotional, life-affirming choice provoked by his earlier exchange with Luis.
The film charts two narrative blueprints juxtaposed next to each other: the No campaign from inception to post-referendum, and how it is inextricably linked to René's democratic ideology. Against the backdrop of fierce competition between both camps, his middle-class existence as a single father still harboring feelings for the ex-wife comes into close, thematic focus.
When public opinion becomes cultural movement and things begin to swing in favor of No's provocative campaign; hinting at political activism cleverly cloaked in neutral concepts such as love, happiness and freedom, Pinochet's lackeys begin a series of menacing threats that hover in dangerous, unpredictable shadows. Shot with an aspect ratio of 4:3 using analogue tape; the format also implies a cautionary facet to this film concerned with lasting effects created by commercials in the heydays of TV, suggesting how a simple medium and viral marketing can radically influence political views of the masses, creating landslide victories for the underdog.
Things comes to a hauntingly ironic conclusion, that much is obvious, but No is a tremendously simple film that burns with quiet ferocity. Pablo Larrain displays talent in using visual moods, incisive dialog and dramatic scores; giving shape to the social atmosphere in 1980s Chile rife with unquenchable thirst for liberty and change, yet pensive and scarred by a violent past.
Although punctuated with flashes of humor and scathing wit, this Oscar nominee in foreign language category is an intense historical drama that works on a deeper level by finding resonance with universal emotions. Passion seeps through every frame, culminating in a mood most aptly expressed by Tchaikovsky's valse sentimentale.
This is a Betamax quality movie. If you like history-related movies, this one is just for you! This movie tells history of Chile in Pinochet era from a "creative" perspective. It's always a pleasure to watch Gael Garcia Bernal who played a hero Ernesto Guevara de la Serna in Motorcyle Diaries, in this movie plays another hero: a genius advertiser who is the mastermind behind the NO campaign during Chilean political reform referendum in 1989. Horrible events such as tortures, imprisonment, street riots occurred during the Pinochet era was told, but never in a disturbing way to the audience. Whoever watches the movie may find lot of similarities in his/her countries past or current or future situation, which made the movie more attractive for me. Long after I have left the movie, I continue thinking about it; therefore, this movie is definitely going to be in my collection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Starring Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, No is the movie submitted by
Chile to the 2012 academy awards. The movie tells us about one moment
in Chile history when dictator Pinochet organized a referendum trying
to legitimize his government to the eyes of the world. However, against
all odds, the political opposition manages to win the voting and that
way democracy put an end to that nefarious period of Chilean history.
How did they managed to do that is the topic of the film in which the story is told through the main character, René Saavedra, an advertiser hired to organize the campaign of the No (no to Pinochet leading the country for another eight years) which gives its title to the film.
The film gives us the chance to get into one of the most important events in Chile contemporary history, but one that isn't very well known outside that country; I at least haven't heard about it until I saw the film. The first virtue about the film is that you don't need to know about this events to get into it, as long as you know Chile lived a long military dictatorship (which should be general knowledge) you won't have any problem getting into the plot.
No shows us the complications around the campaign, Saavedra only counts with 15 minutes each day to get his message to the people of Chile, and his works starts not with some commercials, but talking the opposition parties to agree to his idea of making some positive promos in order to help Chileans get over their fear of voting, instead of denouncing the crimes of the dictatorship now that they have a chance to do it. Besides that, all the government and media works for Pinochet, and they'll use everything in their possibilities to obstruct the opposition message.
No uses many archive images, maybe up to a quarter of the film is made from the original videos aired in the Chilean TV during the campaigns, this is very interesting since as foreigners we get to see what people in the country watched in their TV every night. The film does a great job combining this archive images with the work of the actors so at all time the film moves along quite well and it never feels like a documentary or a history lesson which could make some people bored; but it is still very interesting for anyone who (like me) loves history. Watching this archive images gives us some surprises, and while everything will undoubtedly say more to Chileans than to foreigners, you may still get some surprises, like discovering Hollywood actors like Chistopher Reeve, Richard Dreyfuss (in a good Spanish) or Jane Fonda giving support messages to the people of Chile.
This combination of archive videos and original film is made more effective by the cinematography. The director looked for a camera like the ones used and the end of the eighties to make his film, and he manages that all the film has the same definition which helps to blend it perfectly, also this gives the film a distinctive look that makes it visually different from any other current film.
The acting is good, with Gael García Bernal giving a good Chilean accent, without much dialog his characters evolves very well through the movie, I liked specially when he is working on other advertising besides the No campaign, he uses the same phrases while selling his job, but despite this remaining unchanged by the end of the film we notice how he earned a lot of respect and confidence with his winning No campaign.
One last good thing is that despite the fact that you know the ending from the first moment, the plot manages to give you some moments of tension, a proof that it has been very well developed.
Some things I didn't like is the sound, at some moments I had some difficulty hearing some dialogs, this technical fail is a shame. I also disliked some shots in which the sun is too bright obscuring everything else on screen, but this doesn't happen much.
At the end of the film you will be humming the catchy song of the campaign. Naturally this wasn't the only thing that forced Pinochet to leave the government and there is a lot more to learn about this moment of Chile history, but the campaign was important and the film offers a great introduction to the topic trough an original cinematographic work. Recommendable
In the last few days, I went to the cinema to see NO, a movie about the
88s plebiscite in Chile, and it was a very good experience.
The main is story it's of the man who was behind the NO campaign, René Saveedra; and boy, Gael García Bernal gives us a very serious but very well done character.
Also, the camera and the sets of the film give us the feeling that this is an 80s movie. That was very interesting.
Pablo Larraín directed very well this movie, because it gives the sensation that its real (well, of course it was real, but it was like in the real life they hided a camera on the places. It was just very realistic). Also, the script, made by Pedro Peirano, it's very real and well written.
Well, in brief words, NO it's a movie that any lover of independent films have to see.
8 stars out of 10
NO is the story of the advertising campaign surrounding the 1988
referendum that was supposed to "elect" General Pinochet to another
eight years of dictatorship in Chile, win or lose.
Pinochet's government were an arrogant bunch; 15 years of dictatorship will do that to you, to the point that the election was largely seen as a farcical exercise merely to validate his rule.
So, the fact that this election campaign won a seemingly un-winnable election and validate real democracy in that it began the end of Pinochet's rule is still a pretty incredible turn of events.
The film itself tells the story of Rene Saavedra (Gael García Bernal) an in demand advertiser with a troubled home life who spearheads the NO campaign by putting a positive, consumerist spin on it with plenty of humour to be had... www.ravechild.co.uk
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"No" suffers from trying to be, and succeeding at, being far too
As preposterous as this criticism sounds, a promising political drama based on true events surrounding a 1988 election campaign in Chile abandons all the fundamentals of modern movie making. There's no soundtrack. There's no witty dialog. There are no special effects. The performances aren't particularly memorable. As a result, a potentially riveting political thriller drags badly in this poorly-scripted, abysmally-shot re-enactment which debuted last year in Chile. It's now finally making rounds in American movie theaters, its longevity based on being nominated earlier this year for an Oscar in the Best Foreign-Language film category.
"No" has the sophomoric look and feel of a film school project shot with a couple of Beta cams. That's because director Pablo Larrain curiously decided to shoot his entire movie with the same outdated videotape stock used by actual television news crews during the 1980's, when this film takes place. He presumably did this to add the look of realism. Borrowing a visual device that worked masterfully when Steven Spielberg employed World War II-era Bell and Howell movie cameras to film the famous Normandy Beach scenes in Saving Private Ryan (1998), the same technique might have proved a powerful cinematic accompaniment had it been used selectively. Instead, the entire movie is shot in a grainy film texture which not only becomes annoying, but quite distracting after the first few scenes when we realize this is the way the entire will be. It becomes like trying to watch a movie through a dirty window pane.
This is unfortunate because "No" had great potential. The movie is all about the 1988 political referendum on the brutal dictatorship of Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet. One of the most despised political leaders in Latin American history, Pinochet ruled the South American nation of Chile with an iron fist between 1973 and 1988. However, his dictatorship faced growing international pressure to hold free elections, and so a national referendum was called in 1988 to vote on the question if Pinochet should be allowed to stay in power.
The premise sounds rather simple. But after the military junta's 15 years of disappearances, torture, intimidation, and media control, those Chileans brave enough to work on the "No" campaign took enormous risks, both professionally and personally. What if they worked against Pinochet and then lost the election? What would then be their fate? Would they ever work again? Would they eventually be arrested? Could they end up as political prisoners? "No," which gets its name from the actual anti-Pinochet campaign, recounts the atmosphere of fear those brave enough to oppose the dictator had to endure during the 27-day campaign. Given the overwhelming odds stacked against them, no one -- not even the movement's most committed followers -- gave the "No" campaign a chance.
But if that was the case, we wouldn't be watching a movie about these events some 25 years later.
That's where the star of "No" comes in. Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal plays a young hotshot advertising wizard hired by the anti-Pinochet ("No") movement to orchestrate its media campaign. The very real issue of how to run a national campaign amidst this culture of fear gets compounded by a deep divide within the camp between those who want to use this rare opportunity to showcase Pinochet's horrific human rights abuses versus the younger pragmatists who view the selling of a candidate about the same as marketing beer or tires.
Given the extraordinary circumstances of this unique moment in history and all the subplots of running an underdog campaign fraught with danger, one can immediately see similarities to some of movie history's best political thrillers -- including The Candidate (1972), All the President's Men (1976), Primary Colors (1998), and most recently -- Argo (2012). Had "No" employed a top-notch screenwriter and shot the movie in a more conventional manor (on standard film, for starters), it might have taken its place among the pantheon of great political dramas. Instead, a fascinating story gets lost in the abyss of a poorly contrived and under-budgeted mess.
One final note: Without revealing any spoilers, "No" is probably a must see for political junkies if for no other reason than to watch this unlikely campaign unfold, and at times completely unravel before ultimately becoming a serious challenge to one of the most notorious political and military regimes in Latin American history. This is a fabulous story with some truly mesmerizing moments of triumph. However, the film fails to convey these remarkable real-life events in a manner worthy of those brave heroes who actually set out to achieve the impossible.
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