- How does the film No represent the social environment under the Pinochet dictatorship?
- How does the protagonist, RenÃ© want to organize the No Campaign? Why does he want to organize the campaign in this way? Some people who support the No Campaign reject the RenÃ©â€™s approach. Why do you think they disagree with Reneâ€™s plans for the campaign?
- RenÃ© agrees to accept some of his criticsâ€™ suggestions and makes some changes to his original plan. What changes does he make? Why do you think he accepted these changes?
- How might the differences of style and content of the Yes and No ad campaigns reflect the political perspectives of both sides of the referendum?
- How does the film end? (This question refers to the final scenes and not the scenes depicting the victory of the No Campaign) How do you interpret this conclusion of the film? What do you think the conclusion has to say about the nature of Chilean society going forward after the referendum?
and short peer review on this one:
1.) No represents the social environment of Chile in a very stark way. What I think stood out to me most was the different locations for the scenes. For example, in the scenes with Rene’s advertising company, when they are shooting scenes for the microwave or the soda, it seems like a normal every day environment. People are happy and joking and seem to be living pretty well. During the meetings with the leaders of the No campaign, the environment seems tense, but it doesn’t necessarily seem like they are struggling under Pinochet’s leadership. However, the stark difference is in the scenes out in public or when Rene is threatened in his home. During the marches in the street with the No campaign, the harsh militaristic style of the government in tearing down these marches. You see people being beaten and there is what looks like gas being used on the citizens. It is even more of a harsh scene because of the presence of Rene’s child, Simon being there. The same sense of an unsettling social environment is the fact that Rene and his associates for the NO campaign are constantly threatened, it even makes Rene so paranoid that he sends his son to stay with his mother for a while. These differences show that while the citizens may have a sense of comfort and familiarity in their homes and work lives, there really is no safety or real freedom when such force is facing them if they disagree with Pinochet’s dictatorship.
2.) Rene wants to organize the No campaign from a seller’s standpoint. He has a background in advertising and all of his regular projects have the express goal of “selling” whether it is a bottle of soda or a new soap opera. He wants to organize the campaign this way because the Yes campaign is taking a very heavy approach and he wants to show the great difference between the two campaigns. He wants this campaign to reach people that would not otherwise vote, specifically women over 60 and young people. Some people who support the No campaign push back against this “seller’s” standpoint and argue that Rene’s approach makes light of a really terrible time in their history. They point out that people have died, disappeared, been exiled, and tortured because of Pinochet’s leadership. To make light of these terrible crimes against humanity through a “commercial” No campaign is a slap in the face to those who have suffered because of Pinochet.
3.) Rene does agree to some changes for his original plan to sell the No campaign. His original campaign skirts around a lot of the dark images of the torture of the citizens because of the Pinochet dictatorship. He wants to only focus on the good that can come out of getting rid of Pinochet, rather than look back on the bad that has happened because of him. However, his associates think it is really important to include these because they are good and evoke an emotional response. For example, the scenes with the women who are “dancing” with their missing or dead loved ones, while also telling their stories. Rene agrees that this is really good content but it doesn’t fit with their image so far. His associates disagree and say that it is going in whether he likes it or not. Therefore, he does let in some of the darker images, while also juxtaposing them with his bright and optimistic scenes. I think he does this because he realizes that while he is trying to sell the No campaign to those who need to be encouraged to vote, those who have really been hurt by Pinochet’s dictatorship need to be represented in their 15 minutes as well.
4.) The differences between the Yes an No campaigns reflect the political perspectives of the two sides in a very distinct way. The Yes campaign initially starts out moderately dark, and sort of threatening that without the “safety” of Pinochet’s government, the citizens will not thrive. The No campaign is all about the hope and possibilities of a Chile without Pinochet strangling them. The Yes campaign is all about keeping the power in the hands of Pinochet, while the No campaign is all about putting the power and possibility in the hands of the people. Their country has the potential that the people put into it. It is also interesting to note that the No campaign creates original images and scenes and the Yes campaign actually goes in and basically steals their scenes and paints them in the “Yes Campaign” light. For example, with the couple in the bed, the man is begging the woman to just say yes, say yes, say yes, but she says NO. The Yes campaign takes this scenes and changes it so that the woman says Yes. This is a point that kind of plays against the Yes campaign. They are essentially taking their dissenters and changing the monologue to agree with them. This whole philosophy is what made the people want a change in the first place. The government changed all of the people’s narratives towards a positive light on Pinochet, despite the actual dissatisfaction of the people. These fifteen minutes that the No campaign gets each day is a representation and shines a light on the lack of representation that they have had for the years prior.
5.) The film ends with Rene and his coworker going back to regular advertising work with their soap opera advertising campaign. His coworker and boss, who hated on him for being part of the No campaign for the entire film, actually uses Rene’s experience with the successful No campaign as a positive reason for their clients to listen to him in the end. I interpreted this conclusion as the fact that without Pinochet’s dictatorship strangling the people, they can now go on living their relatively normal lives, but without the fear of actually giving their opinions. They have actual freedom of thought and speech without a dictator. They can be proud of the No campaign and it’s success rather than ashamed and terrified that they are participating in it.