An Oscar for Chile?

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal stars in "No."

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal stars in “No.”

For the first time in the history of the Oscars a Chilean movie has joined the roll of nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Pablo Larrain’s “No,” about the campaign to defeat dictator General Augusto Pinochet in the 1988 one-man presidential plebiscite, was one of 71 entries this year, making it to the short list of nine films under consideration and has now been named as one of five final nominees.

The film uses archival footage from the series of nightly 15-minute television broadcasts the “No” and “Si” campaigns aired the month prior to the vote, and here, courtesy of You Tube, is the first of the “No” programs: .

And one from the “Si” campaign:

“No” to the Oscars

Director Pablo Larrain’s film “No,” about General Augusto Pinochet’s 1988 defeat in a one-man presidential plebiscite, will be Chile’s entry for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film. Earlier this year “No” won the director’s prize at the Cannes Film Festival. There are already over fifty entries from other countries, but the entertainment web site HitFix is predicting that “No” will receive at least a nomination.

But not everyone in Chile is happy with this choice. After the National Council of Arts and Culture announced the selection, a congressman and member of the rightwing Union Democratica Independiente party, Ivan Moreira, described the film on Twitter as a “a political joke” and “history written by the Left” and compared the decision to nominating a Chilean cartoon character for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Another news roundup

The Economist has a long piece on Chile, the protests by students and other groups and Sebastian Piñera’s presidency:

National Public Radio has a review of the Chilean film “Post Mortem,”, whose protagonist works at a Santiago morgue at the time of the 1973 military coup. has this piece on a visit to a Saskatchewan potash mine by Jose Henriquez, one of the 33 miners trapped in an underground copper mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert in 2010.  It was his first time underground since the rescue and he told his hosts he was impressed with the safety measures and operational procedures at the mine.