The film is built around René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal), a young creative in the advertising world who is convinced by a family friend to take on the “No” campaign. No highlights the joy of mass political action. Freedom is thrilling, and the Chileans become excited about it when they are shown the possibilities of a brighter future. The twist here is that advertising, a consumerist art form, is being used as a tool by the socialist and the other left-wing opponents of the regime. This seems counter intuitive but No doesn’t lose sight of the irony.
In No the revolution is televised and has commercials. This is the chronicle of a military dictatorship that fell due to an ad campaign—and a chipper one to boot.
Plot Synopsis: In 1988, Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, due to international pressure, is forced to call a plebiscite on his presidency. The country will vote YES or NO to Pinochet extending his rule for another eight years. Opposition leaders for the NO persuade a brash young advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. Against all odds, with scant resources and under scrutiny by the despot’s minions, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and set Chile free. (c) Sony Classics