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Slick ads, political imagery and a triumph over democratic apathy

Gael Garcia Bernal is one of Chile's mad men
  • Gael Garcia Bernal is one of Chile's mad men

"It looks like a Coca-Cola commercial!" one socialist organizer says of the political ad Gael Garcia Bernal has come up with to topple Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet. And why not? Coca-Cola sells. Based on a true story, No tells the tale of the 1988 referendum that gave the people of Chile a simple choice; vote “yes” for another eight years of Pinochet, or vote “no” for free elections. With both sides given an “equal” 15 minutes of advertising on the state-controlled television, the nos enlist a slick young ad man (Bernal) to help craft a campaign that will convince both old women and teenage boys to rock the vote. Director Pablo Larrain offer a visual flare by shooting on the same magnetic tapes that were used in Chilean TV production at the time. The resulting look, like a sun-faded VHS tape, feels as if one's watching a time capsule instead of a glossy reproduction. An intense look at political imagery, and what it takes to defeat democratic apathy.

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In Print This Week

Vol 28, No 2
October 15, 2020

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