Shortlisted as Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, Pablo Larrain’s fascinating drama relives the 1988 rebellion against the Pinochet regime through the eyes of the people who dared to stand up against the dictator.
Larrain and his cinematographer Sergio Armstrong take the smart creative decision to shoot the picture on equipment and stock from the period, which allows them to seamlessly integrate archive news footage with the dramatisation.
The unlikely hero is Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), one of the driving forces of a Chilean advertising agency run by Lucho Guzman (Alfredo Castro), a devoted acolyte of the president.
Bowing to international pressure, Pinochet conducts a referendum on his rule, which everyone expects to deliver a rousing endorsement to the president.
However, Socialists like Urrutia (Luis Gnecco) are determined to mount a deafening “No” vote and he approaches Rene to mastermind the advertising campaign.
Despite the reservations of his estranged wife (Antonia Zegers), Rene becomes energised by the people around him and as support for the No campaign gathers momentum, Rene and his friends face physical threats and intimidation.
Released: February 8 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 118 mins