You Should Stream: ‘NO’ Teaches Us You Need Gael Garcia Bernal & Catchy Jingles to Win Elections

Lead Photo: 'No' still courtesy of Participant Media
'No' still courtesy of Participant Media
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As the saying goes: politics is a blood sport. And, yes, Obama is up against the ropes… or down for the count, or whatever boxing terminology would be appropriate for this particular state of affairs. For most Latinos, it’s a difficult situation to confront given that Obama’s opponent is the political equivalent of a shrieking madman dressed in animal pelts; and the last thing we want to be dealing with in 2014 are two more years of obstructionism, petty jabs and, well, shrieking. So for this week’s Throwback Thursday we take a look back at director Pablo Larraín’s feel-good (but ominously portentous) election thriller NO.

As the trailer so graciously explains, the Academy Award-nominated NO is a smiley, singing Hi-8 throwback to the campaign that ultimately ended 17 years of dictatorial rule in Chile at the hands of Augusto Pinochet. In the late 1980s, Chileans were given the chance to vote on whether the dictator would stay in power. With all elections come ads, commercials, and catchy jingles; NO tells the story of the masterminds behind the campaign to vote “no” on dictatorship. Ultimately, the “no” vote won!

While the most obvious lesson NO provides for our cynical 21st-century political landscape is that Gael García Bernal will inevitably win you any election, it is also a reminder that elections can be fun and colorful and sometimes even the good guy prevails. Although Pinochet did remain nominally in power as Commander in Chief of the Chilean army for a whopping eight years after his ouster. Actually, come to think of it maybe the lesson is actually that marketing trumps ideology in the age of mass media and that elections are won by copywriters and strategists rather than good ideas.

Hmmm, maybe it’s not that feel good after all. But, hey, hang tight America. In two more years the circus will be back in town and maybe this time the good guys will have the better marketing team. Until then buckle in and take some Dramamine, because we’ll be going round and round in circles for the foreseeable future.

In case you have the Republicans won the Congress blues, here’s a catchy and uplifting song from the actual advertising campaign that changed the course Chilean of history. Seriously, it’s infectious.

UPDATE 10/7/2018: You can stream NO on Amazon, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, and Google Play.