Sony Classics Picking Up Chilean Cannes Hit 'No' by Pablo Larraín
by Alex Billington
May 22, 2012
Some worthwhile acquisitions news from the Cannes Film Festival. Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the Chilean drama from director Pablo Larraín titled simply No, referring to the yes/no referendum vote in Chile in 1988. I saw the film last night, it's playing in the Director's Fortnight sidebar, and it's incredibly unique, very engaging, and most importantly, rather unforgettable partially due to the way it was shot (to look like U-matic). Sony Classics has picked up all North American distribution rights to the real-life drama, starring Gael Garcia Bernal as an ad exec who creates a campaign to free his country from oppression.
Directed by Pablo Larraín (Post Mortem, Tony Manero) from a screenplay by Pedro Peirano (The Maid), No is produced by Juan de Diós Larraín and Daniel Dreifuss and executive produced by Participant Media. Based on a true story, when Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, facing international pressure, calls for a referendum on his presidency in 1988, opposition leaders persuade a brash advertising executive, Rene Saavedra (played by Gael García Bernal), to spearhead their campaign. With scant resources and constant scrutiny by the despot’s watchmen, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and free their country from oppression. For more details, here is the film's Directors' Fortnight original listing.
I went to see the film at its final screening in Cannes, as I had been hearing great buzz from many critics and colleagues throughout the last couple of days. Word is that it originally received a standing ovation at its world premiere last week, and has gone on to be one of the most highly praised films amongst critics. "This movie is a masterfully engaging and energetic drama about politics and power, a tonic for the brain that is also a major entertainment. No establishes Pablo Larrain as a major international director and Gael Garcia Bernal gives his finest performance," stated Sony Classics. Be on the lookout for it when released.