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Say yes to No

Everyone on TV is selling something — in No, they’re selling the future of a country.
Everyone on TV is selling something — in No, they’re selling the future of a country.
Movie

No *****

thumbnail

The final installment in director Pablo Larrain’s unplanned “Pinochet era” trilogy that began with <em>Tony Manero</em> in 2008 and includes 2010's <em>Post Mortem</em>. The fate of the Chilean people rests in the hands of Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a soda pop–selling ad exec hired to quarterback the “No” campaign. Rene's job is to create twenty-seven 15-minute infomercials aimed at ousting Pinochet. His mission is to thwart the competition’s bid to turn the military dictator into an attractive product used to lure old women and young voters, the country’s two undecided demographics. Larrain works backward, choosing to conform his narrative to the existing footage by shooting the entire film on the antiquated three-quarter-inch cassette stock. In that sense, <em>No</em> could be the most beautiful, purposefully ugly film ever made. With Antonia Zegers, Larrain lifer Marcial Tagle, and the incomparable Alfredo Castro as Rene’s soda-swilling, Pinochet-pushing superior.

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A friend who saw it in Cannes apprised me of the situation: No was Pablo Larrain’s bid for commercialism. If using an old-fangled 1983 U-matic video camera to shoot a 2012 re-creation of the 1988 overthrow of Augusto Pinochet, commander-in-chief of the Chilean army, is Larrain’s way of achieving wide-ranging acceptance, then by all means, conform away.

No is the final installment in Larrain’s unplanned “Pinochet era” trilogy that began with Tony Manero in 2008. According to the director, “Post Mortem speaks of the origin of the dictatorship, Tony Manero about its most violent moment, and No is about the end.”

The fate of the Chilean people rests in the hands of Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a soda pop–selling ad exec hired to quarterback the “No” campaign. Rene is hired to create twenty-seven 15-minute infomercials aimed at ousting Pinochet. His job is to thwart the competition’s bid to turn the military dictator into an attractive product used to lure old women and young voters, the country’s two undecided demographics.

Too often, the grainy, mismatched archival footage in most based-on-true-events docudramas distracts the eye. The period re-creation is painstakingly meticulous, as seamless as anything on display in Woody Allen’s equally chameleonic Zelig. Larrain works backward, choosing to conform his narrative to the existing footage by shooting the entire film on the antiquated three-quarter-inch cassette stock. Not for one second could I detect where the newsreels left off and Larrain picked up. It appears to have been shot by an amateur Chilean news crew in the mid-’80s. In that sense, No could be the most beautiful, purposefully ugly film ever made and the director’s way of commenting on the current vogue of shaky-cam cinematography.

The bid for mass appeal paid off: No earned a Best Foreign Language Film nomination at this year’s Oscars. Even with an international superstar in the lead, it’s doubtful that an absurdist comedy with this subject matter will find a large audience. That is exactly why I urge you to say “Yes” to No. With Antonia Zegers, Larrain lifer Marcial Tagle, and the incomparable Alfredo Castro as Rene’s soda-swilling, Pinochet-pushing superior.

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2

I just saw Carmen the masterpiece by Carlos Sura. Laura del Sol gave me a boner.

Feb. 28, 2013

That's more than you ever did for Bob.

March 4, 2013

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Everyone on TV is selling something — in No, they’re selling the future of a country.
Everyone on TV is selling something — in No, they’re selling the future of a country.
Movie

No *****

thumbnail

The final installment in director Pablo Larrain’s unplanned “Pinochet era” trilogy that began with <em>Tony Manero</em> in 2008 and includes 2010's <em>Post Mortem</em>. The fate of the Chilean people rests in the hands of Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a soda pop–selling ad exec hired to quarterback the “No” campaign. Rene's job is to create twenty-seven 15-minute infomercials aimed at ousting Pinochet. His mission is to thwart the competition’s bid to turn the military dictator into an attractive product used to lure old women and young voters, the country’s two undecided demographics. Larrain works backward, choosing to conform his narrative to the existing footage by shooting the entire film on the antiquated three-quarter-inch cassette stock. In that sense, <em>No</em> could be the most beautiful, purposefully ugly film ever made. With Antonia Zegers, Larrain lifer Marcial Tagle, and the incomparable Alfredo Castro as Rene’s soda-swilling, Pinochet-pushing superior.

Find showtimes

A friend who saw it in Cannes apprised me of the situation: No was Pablo Larrain’s bid for commercialism. If using an old-fangled 1983 U-matic video camera to shoot a 2012 re-creation of the 1988 overthrow of Augusto Pinochet, commander-in-chief of the Chilean army, is Larrain’s way of achieving wide-ranging acceptance, then by all means, conform away.

No is the final installment in Larrain’s unplanned “Pinochet era” trilogy that began with Tony Manero in 2008. According to the director, “Post Mortem speaks of the origin of the dictatorship, Tony Manero about its most violent moment, and No is about the end.”

The fate of the Chilean people rests in the hands of Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a soda pop–selling ad exec hired to quarterback the “No” campaign. Rene is hired to create twenty-seven 15-minute infomercials aimed at ousting Pinochet. His job is to thwart the competition’s bid to turn the military dictator into an attractive product used to lure old women and young voters, the country’s two undecided demographics.

Too often, the grainy, mismatched archival footage in most based-on-true-events docudramas distracts the eye. The period re-creation is painstakingly meticulous, as seamless as anything on display in Woody Allen’s equally chameleonic Zelig. Larrain works backward, choosing to conform his narrative to the existing footage by shooting the entire film on the antiquated three-quarter-inch cassette stock. Not for one second could I detect where the newsreels left off and Larrain picked up. It appears to have been shot by an amateur Chilean news crew in the mid-’80s. In that sense, No could be the most beautiful, purposefully ugly film ever made and the director’s way of commenting on the current vogue of shaky-cam cinematography.

The bid for mass appeal paid off: No earned a Best Foreign Language Film nomination at this year’s Oscars. Even with an international superstar in the lead, it’s doubtful that an absurdist comedy with this subject matter will find a large audience. That is exactly why I urge you to say “Yes” to No. With Antonia Zegers, Larrain lifer Marcial Tagle, and the incomparable Alfredo Castro as Rene’s soda-swilling, Pinochet-pushing superior.

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Comments
2

I just saw Carmen the masterpiece by Carlos Sura. Laura del Sol gave me a boner.

Feb. 28, 2013

That's more than you ever did for Bob.

March 4, 2013

Sign in to comment

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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