On May 28, Spotlight Films will be showing the film No, by Chilean director Pablo Larrain.
No is the culmination of Larrain’s trilogy about life under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The previous two films were Tony Manero and Post Mortem.
In 1973, Salvador Allende was ousted as leader of Chile after a violent coup during which he committed suicide rather than succumb. Within a year Pinochet had become supreme leader of the military dictatorship and what followed was a reign of terror and violence, allegedly sanctioned by the U.S.
In 1988, due to international pressure, Pinochet confidently called for a carefully calculated plebiscite to determine whether an eight-year extension of his brutal regime was valid. His chances of winning seemed infallible.
The No campaign enlisted the help of politically apathetic adman Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal of Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien), a shrewd, introspective and creative ad executive loosely-based on Eugenio Garcia.
The opening scene has Saavedra previewing a new commercial for a beverage company, which is suddenly interrupted by opposition manager Jose Tomas Urrita (Luis Gnecco, a popular Chilean comedic actor). Saavedra’s agency has been commissioned by the Yes campaign to design ads for the Junta, with Saavedra’s boss Lucho Guzman (Alfredo Castro, Tony Manero, La fiera, a TV series in Chile) working for Pinochet. In conversations between Rene and Jose, craftily blended with a dinner scene between Rene and his boss, Luis, the stage is set and the worm of skepticism surrounding the legitimacy of Pinochet’s reign emerges.
Rene’s journey home on a skateboard, complete with some artful audio/visual candy, amplifies Saavedra’s transformation. Highly sought after because of his creative and unorthodox approach to marketing concepts, it is no accident Rene’s methods of selling freedom come off like Coke commercials in the 30 minute TV ads shared with the Yes campaign.
This intense historical drama, punctuated with dark humour and searing wit, was nominated Best Foreign Film at the recent Oscars and won the Art Cinema Award at Cannes. It ploughs the furrows of deep universal emotions, there is seldom a frame without passion and a yearning for liberty and change.
Thanks to Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes and cinemainterruptus.wordpress.com.
This film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Gem Theatre.
Spotlight Films would like to thank our sponsors, supporters and Maureen and Marius Paquet of the Gem theatre.
– Submitted by Larry Hudema