The excellent political drama No starring Gael Garcia Bernal is out on DVD this Monday. It uses antiquated video cameras to capture the spirit of the time but does the medium suit the message?

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by oblakoo

    on 20 Jun 2013 10:13

    I loved all aspect of this film. Lovely indeed. http://www.unn.edu.ng

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by madgirlipswich

    on 19 Jun 2013 17:35

    this is a brilliant film and completely unpretentious despite all the talk of aspect ratios, film format, and the overthrow of a dictator (however you say his name).

    its a funny, human drama in which the politics and the cinematography are barely noticeable as they fit the subject so perfectly. a real pleasure to watch.

    I saw it at the cinema and loved it.

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by InternalBiscuit

    on 18 Jun 2013 12:51

    It's odd that they went to such lengths to preserve the 4.3 aspect ration of the frame and yet let the subtitles run into the 1.85, at least for the theatrical DCP. I speak as a projectionist who screened this. As far as presentation goes, it would have been better for the film to bring the masking in to fit the squarer frame but as it was, we had to leave it at 1.85, effectively 'pillar-boxing' the image, to accomodate the odd subtitle when it ran wider than 4x3. Surely 'they' could have ensured that the subtitles were also 'of a time' as well, keeping them confined to the 4x3 width. The DVD/BD may be different though. Aesthetically then, a fine idea but one that wasn't followed through to the end as far as the theatrical presentation went. In my opinion.

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by FRoux

    on 18 Jun 2013 11:12

    Well, I can't say that "No" will be my favorite film, although the topic was extraordinary! Did it happen another time that a dictator was fired by a democratic poll ? I wish it will happen again... I was rather disappointed by the (lack of) rythm of the narration, for an unpredictable event which took place in only a few weeks.

    The artistic choice was coherent with the story, and didn't troubled me. I agree with MiddleClassFury, this is certainly more convenient on small screens, but it was ok. Maybe a little bit of nostalgia from me ? Why not seeing an old-like movie nowadays?

    That's less ridiculous than numerous "modern" ones.

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by Brian - New Forest

    on 16 Jun 2013 21:13

    "No" is a great film and I caught it at the my local House of Picture. To add to the slight novelty of the format of days gone by, they had a strange projection problem which cut one of the vertical edges at a slight diagonal. I'd thought it was perhaps an intentional glitch in the film to mimic scansion problems of analogue TV, but seeing properly rectangular clips in this blog suggest it was probably some masking problem in the projection.

    I don't think that aspect ratio will affect viewer choices unduly, if for no other reason than it's rarely in most reviews or publicity. "Silent" and "Black and White" were more notable features of "The Artist" than the fact that it was in good old Academy. I remember with great pleasure the opening of Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior, beginning with a 4:3 montage of scene setting archive footage and flashback from the more low res Mad Max 1, as this narration ends the image widened out as the camera pulled back from the grill of Mel's turbo, a gimmick, but one that took us from apocalyptic psuedo doc and dropped us in the middle of a stunning violent chase. When I saw "The Dark Knight Rises" in true IMAX (I'd first seen it in IMAX lite at a regional Odeon), the action set pieces in stories high wall filling IMAX 1.44 : 1 were even more arresting, but other scenes ping ponged shot by shot between the shorter standard widescreen 2.35 : 1 and the full IMAX enchilada in a way that was by turns awkward/disconcerting/charitably reminiscent of '70's split screen thrillers like Thomas Crown or Anderson Tapes.

    As a projectionist for a "mobile cinema", I've found that aspect ratio only matters for practical reasons. Some venues, village halls or community centres with low ceilings, with no room to mount our screen higher, will be wary of films with subtitles if they do not project high enough for the whole audience to see (these are sadly always burned in, rather than digital titles that otherwise could potentially be shown as surtitles). The wider "shorter" formats may allow these to be projected high enough, where subs + 4:3 would almost certainly be a no go in that situation.

    Aspect ratio is just another tool in the palette of the film maker. Going forward digital may mean that we will have even greater flexibility in the way they choose to frame their work on the canvas of the screen. I'll use this opportunity to put forward my patents for Circlarama and Ovoid-vision, after all, we don't see the world within a rectangle.... (or, if ya do, maybe you should get out more....)

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by MarkinWidnes

    on 16 Jun 2013 18:47

    I saw this on my TV as you could rent it from i-tunes at the time it was released in the cinema, and I thought it looked great, and a great choice by the makers as there was no jarring transitions between the historical stuff and the stuff they filmed. For me, it just took you back to the period and (take note 3-D fans) this is what immersion in a film is really about, it just felt like the 80's as I remembered them, the film really transported you back to that period. Of course, had the film been dull, I could have been looking for faults in the way it was made and the way it looked, but as the film had me hooked (it's a brilliant film) then I was just swept along. So yes, absolutely, the medium matched the message in this case, but that is down to the skill of the film makers I think, rather than the particular technique they used.

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by babyfacemichael

    on 14 Jun 2013 21:19

    As a companion piece ,may I suggest the brilliant ` Death and The Maiden`. Three actors at the top of their game and a great script is all you need.

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by PJ Hughes

    on 14 Jun 2013 21:03

    It certainly worked for me. I found it easier to place myself in time. Although I do have some understanding of Spanish (altbeit rusty and not too fluent) as well, which helped.

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by Frank Doubleday

    on 14 Jun 2013 19:24

    I remember seeing 'Blair Witch Project' not at the cinema, or even on TV, but through my Father's computer (which had DVD format) outdated by today's standards, but it some how was the perfect format to see the film. It made the film more realistic, seeing it through this small screen, and I was more scared by it, compared to when I watched it some years later on wide screen TV. GGB was very brave to do his movie in the format he did, and it will find an audience (myself now putting it on my film rental list).

    On a separate note. The Chile / Pinochet leadership. One of my favourite films is Costa Gavra's 'Missing'. Jack Lemmon giving one of his best performances.

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by R E ffolkes

    on 14 Jun 2013 18:35

    The idea of using degraded footage/stock or old tech is an interesting one and certainly for the film in question would appear to be a good stylistic choice.
    Reminds me of watching old video nasties on vhs(usually nth generation copies), they're just not the same in pristine widescreen dvd/blu. Like @4 said we've come a long way in terms of quality(or expectations of).
    Lets hope this doesn't become the new fad following the found footage sub-genre cf V/H/S.

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