In "No," 34-year-old Guadalajara-born actor and filmmaker
It's a shrewd, buoyant movie about advertising and psychology, and to the degree (which is considerable) that Bernal anchors "No," it's also about the value of doing very little on screen.
Bernal lets the viewer come to him. Best known for "Y Tu Mama Tambien," "Babel" and "The Motorcycle Diaries," the actor expresses a kind of ebullience even in repose. It's useful for playing the fictional character of Rene Saavedra in "No," whose ex-wife (Antonia Zegers) is a firebrand and a leftist in frequent trouble with the police. Rene is different: a company man, hard to read, but someone you'd want on your side, if you're trying to make a rattled citizenry feel good about the prospect of ousting an iron-fisted patriarch.
We talked last fall in Toronto during the international film festival. "No" had already triumphed at the
It already has. Though it lost to
The actor, who divides his time between Mexico and Buenos Aires, Argentina, wonders if American politics, from his perspective, has much to do with everyday life. (Then again, any time spent in Hollywood is time not really spent in America.) "In Latin America politics affects everything," he said. "Even the uses of language are interesting. For example there is this term 'charity work' I hear in America all the time. In our countries, though, it's called 'social responsibility.' Which is very different."
In its close-to-the-ground shooting style and dynamic approach to historical fiction, "No" resembles this year's big Oscar winner,
Who'd have thought it? Quality sells.