Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín returned to the New York Film Festival this year with NO, a retelling of the advertising campaign that was instrumental in the referendum that defeated Pinochet in 1988. With doses of dark humor and witty criticism, as well as a remarkably raw lookimparted by the obsolete U-matic cameras on which the film was shotLarraín finishes his triptych on Chilean recent history with his most complex and elaborate film to date.
What youre about to see is part of the social context of todays Chile. In NO, René Saavedra says these words every time he shows his commercials to clientsthree times, to be precise. Ill return to those instances later, but for now, allow me to spend a moment with two words of Renés mantrasocial context.
These are, above all, spectral presences, those models of the real that the digital image delivers neither as reproduction nor as total simulation, but as something more complex, figures situated in between the lived record of the film image and the endless manual and computerized alterations of the digital image.