A catchy jingle brought down Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile. In the new film “NO,” starring Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal plays Rene Saavedra, an advertising whiz who conceptualized the idea of the campaign showing a rainbow with the word ‘no.’ Chilean director Pablo Larrain, who showcased his film at the New York Film Festival, revisits the 1988 “NO” campaign, which sold the idea of democracy with the simple jingle “Chile, la alegría ya viene!” (Chile, happiness is coming).
Larraín told biobiochile that he chose Garcia Bernal to play the main character, instead of a Chilean actor, because he thinks he is a great actor who is in a high and competitive level in terms of his career.
Although Larraín grew up during the dictatorship, the violence and hardship were completely unknown to him. “I was never exposed to violence,” he told The New York Times. “I was never exposed to poverty. So, in a way, my life during the dictatorship was comfortable and completely out of any kind of danger.”
Larraín is the son of politicians, Senator Hernán Larraín and former Minister Magdalena Matte, who sent him to private schools and protected him from the worst.
It was not until he was 15, 16, that he realized the he had missed out on a chunk of his country’s experience, the “fear and pain.” This is the reason he wanted to recreate that era with his film, “to understand it,” he told The Times.
The film was shot using a pair of U-matic video cameras of that same time period. “They have less resolution than an iPhone,” Larraín said. The director wanted to marry the archival footage, the actual advertising campaigns from both political parties, and the rest of the film, in order to create the “illusion” of watching a film from the 80s.
According to biobiochile, the director shot part of the film in one of the rooms of the National and International Events Center (CENI) in the University of Santiago de Chile.
“No” is part of Larraín’s trilogy, about the dictatorship, which began with the film “Tony Manero” in 2008 and followed with “Post Modern” in 2010.
The filmed was screened in the New York Film Festival Friday and Saturday, had previously been screened in the Cannes Film Festival in France in May, where it won Art Cinema award at the Director’s Fortnight.