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No - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published March 5th 2013
A fascinating chapter in Chile's history gets a long overdue re-enactment on film with No.

In 1988, dictator Augusto Pinochet buckled to international pressure and held a plebiscite to reflect whether the Chilean public actually wanted him governing their nation. This gave his oppressed political opponents the rare chance to criticise him publicly.

The marketing brains behind the No to Pinochet television broadcasts largely went against what was expected and used humour and hope to convey their message. This in turn gives the makers of No the same licence. So what one would expect to be an exercise in fortitude, watching a nation subjected to a dictatorship that tortures and kills those who speak against it, is a surprisingly humorous venture for much of its length.

A lot of original footage from the time is used, so the makers of No shot on cheap video to blend in with the archival footage. It makes the film look pretty ghastly, but undoubtedly authentic.

Don't be fooled by the subject matter, think of No as a Chilean Mad Men in extreme circumstances. Thoroughly deserving of its Oscar nomination for best foreign language film, No manages to be highly entertaining while chronicling momentous historical events.

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Why? Oscar nominee for best foreign language film.
Where: At selected cinemas
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