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Pablo Larraín’s No

Pablo Larraín, No, 2012, 3/4-inch video transferred to 35 mm, black-and-white and color, sound, 110 minutes. Production still. René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal). Photo: Tomás Dittburn.

THREE TIMES in Pablo Larraín’s No, René Saavedra, an advertising executive in 1980s Santiago, unveils a pitch to his clients. René (Gael García Bernal) is a young hotshot with a then-fashionable rattail and a soothing boardroom manner, and at each meeting, speaking a lingo of practiced buzzwords, he trots out a near-identical spiel: “What you are about to see is in line with the current social context.” “Today Chile thinks of its future.” One sales come-on is for a soft drink called Free. Another promotes a Dynasty-like telenovela. The third makes the case for ending the murderous dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

No (which opens nationally this month) concludes Larraín’s trilogy on the Pinochet years, a series of films that suggest the usefulness of oblique angles when braving the minefields of fictionalizing recent history. The filmmaker comes by this sidelong view naturally.

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