ART CINEMA AWARD AT THE DIRECTORS FORTNIGHT 2012
After Tony Manero and Post Mortem, No completes Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s trilogy on the reign of Augusto Pinochet, portrayed from its darkest moments right through to the bitter end. The title refers to the outcome of the 1988 plebiscite launched by Pinochet in response to international pressure. To give the vote a token semblance of fairness, the dictator agrees to grant the opposition 15 minutes a day on national television. Activists, seeing a window of opportunity, call in an ambitious young advertising executive, Rene Saaverda. And despite their clashing outlooks, the victims of the dictatorship and the adman find common ground. The resulting campaign hilariously embraces the language of soft drink ads as it puts forth its surprising—but ultimately win- ning—message of happiness. And if he occasionally loses sight of his subject, Larraín’s enjoyment is palpable as he reinvents a chapter in Chilean history as a madcap human and media adventure. No is the wind of democracy, caught up in the early workings of what will eventually become today’s mass-communications society. The start of an era where No seems a powerful trademark, a logo for freedom.