Monday, May 21, 2012

CANNES 2012 REACTIONS: Pablo Larrain's "No"

If your blinders to anything beyond the competition slate have been up, it's rather understandable for you to have missed this hit of the fest. Indeed it would have flew over my head if it hadn't been previously raised to my attention via Guy Lodge, who's been enthusiastic toward Pablo Larrain's work before. As for his latest film, "No", it hit the festival on the side, but with no less enthusiastic murmurings surrounding it. As somebody who still hasn't seen "Post-Mortem" and is looking desperately for that first viewing, consider this a film waiting for my enthusiasm to truly hit in. In any case, the reviews are quite favorable towards the film, and spell good things for its future.

Guy Lodge (In Contention): "So when the the tersely titled "No" (A-), the final instalment of his purported trilogy of pincered Pinochet-era satires, showed up in the Fortnight, instead of nabbing a more coveted Competition or Un Certain Regard slot, we had reason to think that Larrain's penchant for audience-repelling grimness had reached some kind of almighty apex, despite the friendly star presence of pocket radical Gael Garcia Bernal. As much of a kick as that might have been for us existing fans, however, it's even more gratifying to see Larrain wrongfoot us all by closing out the set with his most narratively robust and emotionally rousing film to date, a hearty celebration of hard-earned democracy spiked with just enough of the director's acidly crooked humor to remind us whose house we're in."
James Rocchi (The Playlist): "Superbly shot, full of human characters (Castro's scenes are superlative, even sympathetic, as he talks with the power-brokers of the regime about advertising's realities), depicting a galvanizing true story while also showing us the hearts and lives of the people on both sides of the vote, "No" is one of the breakout films of Cannes. As wonderful as it was to find it here, the only thing to regret is that it isn't in the main competition where it deserves to be. It would be one thing if "No" merely showed how 30-second TV ads can change people's minds; what makes it a masterwork is how it shows how once, in one place and at one time, 30-second TV ads changed people's worlds, and the world, and for the better."
David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter): "A welcome strain of sly humor accompanies the use of hokey marketing tricks and simplistic messages to bring down a dictatorship. That element is enhanced when the Yes side, aided by Guzman, modifies its campaign accordingly. The film also ends on a note of droll cynicism. Via Bernal’s subdued intensity and the look of skepticism with which he acknowledges his victory, Larrain hints that RenĂ©’s methods are part of a somewhat Faustian pact, and that newly democratic Chile would continue to be a country divided along lines of wealth and power."

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