Director: Pablo Larraín
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro
Chile had been under a military dictatorship for 15 years. People vanished without a trace, were tortured to death or even beheaded for defying the dictatorship. Savagery, murder and other atrocities were common day occurrences. This insightful movie tells the true story of an advertising man who created the NO political campaign in the historic 1988 Chilean referendum, which implored the public not to vote General Pinochet in for another 8 year term. Voting NO would result in an open presidential election being brought in which would bring democracy, peace, happiness & a new life for the country. Through death threats and intimidation the persistence of this brave man & his helpers swayed 54% of the public to vote NO.
This is the surprise film of the year. What could have been “an average foreign film with subtitles” was truly a significant, profound and rewarding cinematic experience. The awkward and at times amateurish style of filming which resembled home video footage enhanced the realism, as did the interweaving of disturbing real life footage of the escalating violence at demonstrations. Interesting were the rarely seen television spots of Christopher Reeves and Jane Fonda imploring Chileans to vote NO.
There were great performances from a wonderful cast of unknown actors, the standout being Gael Garcia Bernal who played the leading role of Rene. Humour in the script was welcoming as it offered relief from the engrossing intensity of the subject matter. This is yet another foreign movie which surpasses the quality of the best offerings from America. Pablo Larrain has displayed his magnitude as a director and is up there with the likes of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Deservedly nominated for the Best Foreign Film award at the 2012 Academy awards, this movie is powerful, inspirational and a knock out triumph! JAKE