The film chosen for this week was “No”, directed by Pablo Larraín starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Set in 1988, this film follows the referendum called by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet that allowed the people to vote either “yes”, to have him stay in power for another eight years, or “no”, to have his term come to an end. The main focal point of the film is the “No” ad campaign that helped bring Pinochet out of power.

Although this film does a good job portraying the making of this ad and the struggles gone through to put it on the air, there is much more history to the opposition of Pinochet. He came into power in 1973 following a violent military coup and continued this violence in his term. Political prisoners, disappearances, and torture techniques were common during his rule and lead to years of various activists speaking up in opposition, trying to raise awareness. The “No” ad campaign was the final push for the Chilean people, drawing more of a positive outlook on the future rather than showing gruesome footage of people being brutalized by Pinochet’s men. This positive outlook, using rainbows and catchy tunes, allowed people to think about the future and gave an optimistic tone despite the negative connotations of the word No. This revolutionary new ad technique changed the way political campaigns were then run, inspiring positivity and change for the future rather than mainly focusing on the problems from the past.

Overall, I feel that this film was a good introduction to this part of Chile’s history and the ad campaign that changed the way people thought, glorifying the positive outcome and making of the ad.

If you would like to know more about this campaign and its influence, I would recommend the articles below.


Information Officer