With the eyes of the world on Chile's repressive regime, dictator Augusto Pinochet calls a plebiscite to give the people their say. The campaign against him - "No" - is given 15 minutes of advertising space each day, buried on late-night TV, to make its case. Santiago ad exec René Saavedra (Bernal) is recruited to run it.
The final part in Pablo Larraín’s trilogy of films on the Pinochet dictatorship ends with a treatise on the machinations of political marketing. Utilising an ’80s U-matic video camera and footage from the era, Larraín revisits the 1988 plebiscite that led to Chile’s first democratically elected government in 17 years. René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal) is the (m)ad man spearheading the ‘No’ campaign while his boss at the agency (an irrepressibly oily Alfredo Castro) acts as a consultant for the ‘Yes’ team. The right people won, but this fascinating story reflects the humanity behind the history.
Initially jarring, the video aesthetic blends beautifully with period footage to give a smart depiction of a nation in transition. A well-deserved Oscar nominee.
Reviewed by Philip Wilding