Live Q&A with Gael Garcia Bernal - star of Oscar-nominated NO

Chile, 1988. Rene Saavedra is a successful advertising executive making campaigns for soft drinks and microwaves. He is about to become a fundamental part of one of the most important moments in Chile’s history. He is about to lead the advertising campaign that helps bring the end of Augusto Pinochet’s violent and oppressive 16 year dictatorship.

This is Pablo Larrain’s Oscar nominated film NO, starring Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene. Shot on old film stock and featuring members of the opposition who were banned from appearing in the media under Pinochet, this film powerfully charts the true story of the successful campaign to defeat a referendum that would have allowed Pinochet to lead Chile for another eight years.


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For 16 years Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship had terrorised the people of Chile. Under his authority almost unspeakable human rights abuses were committed – thousands of people were tortured and killed, while others ‘disappeared’ at the hands of the authorities, never to be seen by their families again. Yet more were illegally detained, and any opposition to Pinochet’s leadership was responded to with an iron fist. 

But NO doesn't directly linger on any of this. Instead it does something more affecting: it lets it linger in the background. It incorporates it into every character’s every day. It shows how entrenched such behaviour was and how it became incorporated into the mindset of the powerful. In fact, when the authorities begin a campaign of intimidation to stop Rene and his colleagues from supporting the 'No' vote, it comes with such inevitability it is all the more horrifying. 

Gael Garcia Bernal stars in Oscar-nominated film NO

In the end they win, of course. But for a film that appears for the most part to be about the power to say ‘NO’ and demand change, it ends with a scene that seems to be a nod towards a lack of change – subtle recognition, perhaps, of all those still awaiting justice for their loved ones who disappeared or were killed. 

We’re working to end the culture of impunity for those responsible for these gross human rights abuses and we’re working hard to bring them to justice. Join Amnesty now and fight for justice

Live Q&A with Gael Garcia Bernal and Eugenio Garcia

We’re really excited that Gael Garcia Bernal has agreed to answer your questions live on Thursday at 3.45pm, and even more so that he’ll be joined by Eugenio Garcia - an advertising executive involved in the NO campaign, and on who the character of Rene is partly based.


So, if you have a burning question about Gael's involvement in the film, about the situation in Chile now and then, about the NO campaign or about Gael’s other films then send us your questions now and watch Gael and Eugenio answer live on Thursday

Watch NO at a Picturehouse near you

Want to see NO for yourself? We're presenting a day of screenings in association with Picturehouse Cinemas and Network Releasing. Join us for Q&As across the country

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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Questions for Gael: How do you choose what films you do? Have you ever said no? Why? What's the weirdest film you've ever been asked to do?

JenF 7 years ago

to Gael: what genre of film and type/s of role do you prefer as an actor, and why?

rimajustice 7 years ago