No more obscurity for Chile film industry thanks to Oscar nod

Chile gets its first shot at an Oscar for best foreign-language film with No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal

Chile is getting its first shot at an Oscar for best Foreign Language Film, along with global attention and a boost to its thriving film industry with the nomination of No.

News of the film's nomination was widely celebrated by Chileans, but had also been expected by many since the movie became a surprise hit at Cannes. It also screened at last year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

No revisits a publicity campaign that helped remove General Augusto Pinochet from power after 16 years as a dictator. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Rene Saavedra, a formerly exiled advertising hotshot, who is drawn into a 1988 referendum television campaign and tries to persuade people to vote "no" to eight more years of Pinochet. Selling the idea that positive change could end the regime, his character uses advertisements that feature catchy jingles, a rainbow graphic and dancing Chileans in a variety of guises - from cowboys and housemaids to cooks and miners.

"I had a great time doing this," said Garcia Bernal. "The fact that I played an exiled man is something very common in Chile because the dictatorship provoked this type of returns."

The film's director, Pablo Larrain, said that he is excited about the nomination because it will entice more people to see the story of one of Chile's most memorable moments. "The movie shows how society organised and changed the destiny of a whole country, how a dictatorship was defeated through peaceful means, positive ideas." * AP

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