Friday, May 2, 2014 > 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 > 2 p.m. + 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 4, 2014 > 2 p.m.
Woodland Theater of Davies Center
In 1988, pressured by his most powerful and generous foreign ally, the United States, Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet calls for a referendum on his presidency. His 15-year regime had been characterized by its disregard for human rights, murders, imprisonments, exiles and desaparecidos, the ones who just disappeared. The country will vote YES or NO to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years.
A coalition of 16 political parties in opposition to the dictatorship approaches a brash young advertising executive, René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. Saavedra is a "closer," a seducer of clients with his soft voice and good looks. He oozes sincerity in setting up presentations, whether he is pitching the latest soft drink or the most important event in the life of his country.
Saavedra's estranged wife (Antónia Zegers) is a radical activist who believes the plebiscite is a fraud and refuses to legitimize the dictator and his bogus referendum by voting. While she belittles her husband's involvement with the opposition, commonly known as The NO, Saavedra just wants them to get back together and live as a family with their son, Simon.
Reviewing materials already created for the campaign, Saavedra is convinced their grim, endless montages of killings, torture, tanks and tear gas will turn off voters. With the opposition outspending them an estimated 30 to 1, NO must come up with campaign ads that speak to the heart of the people of Chile and motivate them go to the polls.
"Everyone wants to be happy," Saavedra says in his quiet, convincing way. Happiness will be the campaign: "Happiness is coming if you vote NO!" This approach meets resistance from colleagues who see it as an affront to the many who have suffered under Pinochet, but Saavedra confidently commissions jingles and celebrities to join in delivering the message.
Not only was Pinochet defeated, 97% of registered voters turned out at the polls — and the NO campaign won almost 56% of the vote. “Dictators are not usually ousted through democratic elections," said director Pablo Larraín, "and this is a profoundly human story, which was resolved through things that have to do more with beauty than with horror.”
Winner of the Art Cinema Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, No was the first Chilean film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Admission is free at the door with a Blugold Card or an International Film Society membership. Community members may buy an individual IFS membership for $4; a family membership costs $10. The annual memberships are available at the Service Center, 715-836-3727, in Davies Center’s east lobby.
In Spanish subtitled in English
Rated R for language
Directed by Pablo Larraín