No proves a loud and clear 'yes'

No proves a loud and clear 'yes'


No Movie_L
Photo: Hong Kong International Film Festival Society
Is there any way in which manipulative adverts can be put to good use?

In 1988, Chile's brutal military dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was forced to hold a referendum on whether he would be given another eight years in office. And each day, the opposition was given 15 minutes late at night to make their pitch on television.

The film follows Rene (Gael Garcia Bernal), an advertising hotshot who agrees to take on this uphill battle for democracy that was known as the "No" campaign.

Instead of hard-edged political themes, he cooks up a campaign with smiles, happiness and everything you would expect to see in a cheesy commercial. At first everyone laughs. But somehow it catches on, and the rest is history. Pinochet was out.

Director Pablo Larrain cleverly blends actual footage used in the campaign with imagined behind-the-scenes production arguments. No is filmed using old-school video cameras, adding a wonderful documentary touch.

But what makes this fizzy and witty film truly interesting is how it brings advertising to centre stage, showing how symbolism can induce social change.

YP Rating: 4/5

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