Wednesday, February 20, 2013

No (Chile, 2012)

February 20, 2013

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 international actor, 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.

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