Directed by Pablo Larrain, NO is an excellent study of advertising and its effects in politics, specifically in the Chilean plebiscite of 1988 when General Pinochet allows a general election to see if anyone will challenge his rule. Rene (Gabriel Garcia Bernal), a fresh young advertising producer, is tasked to mastermind the NO television campaign that will be used against Pinochet’s YES party line. Despite certain trepidations he accepts, and creates a poppy Coca Cola style vision filled with irreverence and humor that his party, having witnessed and endured countless atrocities of justice under Pinochet, have great reservations over. However, Rene knows that the only way to defeat Pinochet is to go big and brash, sweeping the pain and suffering under the carpet in exchange for a more utopian view that will actually change opinion. Lots of challenging ideas here, and tons of actual commercial footage is shown, which as an amateur student of advertising I found to be a real treat. Several of the actual participants of this history are brought in to re-enact their roles, and I felt quite good after watching this, even though in the end Rene goes back to selling more mindless product. Such is advertising.

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