In the last ceremony of the Academy Awards, the Latin American film has again had a representative among the finalists for the best foreign film. It is the full-length film “No”, by the Chilean film director Pablo Larraín.

Although it wasn’t among the favourites, since its showing at the Cannes Festival it had been gaining popularity. And besides starring the rising star Gael García Bernal, the film with a historical character transports the viewer to the end of the 80s, and immerses them in an atmosphere of persistent stress, with audiovisual resources typical of that time.

The story is developed in a complex political and social context. By the end of the 80s, few Latin American dictatorships were still standing, General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship being one of the most resonant because of his rude tactics to deal with the “revolutionaries” of that time. Under such circumstances, and with the hours counted, the government of Chile encouraged a plebiscite to affirm the continuation of the General, trying to gain credibility and authority abroad; a way to say “we are not a dictatorship anymore, since the inhabitants have chosen us”. This is how a door was opened to finish with a repressive government, which until that moment hadn’t offered any alternatives.

Immediately, the opposite sectors, prisoners of silence who had been obliged not to speak, started to work from the shadows in an advertising campaign to convince most of the population: the NO campaign. And it is important to mention that the task wasn’t as easy as it seemed. The government of General Pinochet had the approval of a clear majority, as well as the mechanisms and infrastructure to ensure the victory.

The film faithfully shows the period in which campaign strategies were hatched, up to the results. All of it in a hostile context, marked by the violence of those years. This film is a mixture of a historical document and a caricature of a time that marked the history in Chile.

Today, dictatorships in the Occident seem to have come from archaic times, almost unthinkable. However, they are still alive in our collective memory, being present in countless stories. Publicity, the main ally of the freedom of expression, played its role in this transition from the country that Chile was to what it is nowadays.