Watch: The 'No' Trailer Shows How Don Draper Helped Bring Down A Dictator

Is the influx of advertising necessarily bad for democracy? The Chilean film No suggests the answer is a qualified, well, no. And damned if the new trailer doesn't make you feel stuff, and junk, about the right of the people to self-government.

In 1988, Augusto Pinochet had ruled Chile as a dictator for 15 years and was, for the first time, facing an actual election. Of course, the Chilean constitution (drafted by the ruling junta in 1978) was largely an ex post facto justification for Pinochet's continual power; it provided for an 8-year long 'transition' beginning in 1980, during which Pinochet would help the country prepare to resume 'democratic' rule, at the end of which the junta would select a candidate to officially run for the office of President. When '88 rolled around, the junta magically decided that Pinochet was the right man for the job, and the plebiscite held in accordance with the constitution was worded in a way that almost guaranteed he would win.

The ballot asked only if the proposed candidate be rejected or accepted. Yes meant 8 more years of Pinochet and the Junta, 'no' meant new elections in early 1989, including the reestablishment of a national parliament. This wording made it easy for the junta to portray keeping Pinochet as the positive choice. Amazingly, the Chilean people voted against Pinochet's clumsy attempt to play Emperor Augustus anyway, and because the US wasn't interested in interfering in local politics anymore, he was forced to accept the results and step down. 'No', Chile's official selection for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, chronicles the battle to convince Chile to vote Pinochet out of office, using modern advertising techniques in lieu of impassioned populist rhetoric.

The last year of the 1980s is largely remembered for the revolutions of 1989, when the end of the Cold War became a fait accompli with the sudden rash of (mostly) nonviolent uprisings that ended the Soviet-backed dictatorships of eastern Europe. Less widely commemorated, but no less important, was the end of a particularly brutal Western-backed dictatorship the year before. No finally sheds a light on success. It's directed by Pablo Larrain, and stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antónia Zegers, Luis Dnecco, Marcial Tafle, Nastor Cantillana, Jaime Vadell, Pascal Montero.

No opens in wide release on February 15, 2013.


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