Monday, March 04, 2013
Gael Garcia Bernal stars as the leader of the "No" vote in the 1988 plebiscite in Chile
The film “No”, about the plebiscite which overturned Chilean right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1988, is certainly eclectic. Directed by Pablo Larrain, it stars the handsome and charismatic Gael Garcia Bernal (“Bad Education”) as Rene Saavedra, a sales executive hired to direct the “No” vote side of the plebiscite.
The film progresses in docudrama fashion, from the viewpoint of Rene and his family (it often shows both Rene and his son playing with a model train set), and covers the history of the plebiscite, which was supposed to give both sides equal time in the media, in the pre-Internet days where the powerless could not speak for themselves. The film also depicts 1988-level technology, including microwaves and VHS.
But the most curious fact about the film technically is that it is shown as a 1980s-style TV news film, somewhat lacking in definition, and in 4:3 aspect ratio, the same size as television pre-plasma. The effect is that of watching old news reels. But it seems to be a waste of resources in a large modern theater, such as Landmark E Street’s biggest auditorium in downtown Washington DC.
The background music is sometimes interesting, at one point using the Valse Triste by Jean Sibelius.
The film also could be considered a prototype for “opposing viewpoints” style of debate. The film does question whether it is right for the country to achieve economic growth and some prosperity at the cost of having 40% of the population poor.
The official site (Participant Media and Sony Pictures Classics) is here. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2013 Oscars.
Rogue Pictures also provided this interview trailer.
The film title “No” has nothing to do with the depilatory “No-No”.