It was fortunate that a Chilean friend last week asked me to go see the new film “No” starring Gael García Bernal (who played “Che” Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries).
“No” dramatically tells the story of the national referendum that took place in Chile in 1988. A bizarre proposition by Western standards, the question boiled down to whether to continue with dictatorship: “yes” or “no”. To me the film itself is extremely well done in a way that makes its subject completely relevant today: its authentic details do not detract from a fast-moving storyline; the characters and language are realistic and believable, the dilemmas understandable and well-illustrated, the drama never under or overplayed. Excitingly, some real historical figures play cameos of their younger selves, as the film blends historical campaign footage with fiction (for this reason the whole movie was shot with late 80s TV news cameras). Partly because of the presence of historical figures in an advisory capacity, the movie’s faithfulness to real dramas is extremely impressive.