In Guillermo P. Bosch’s silent short film No, a businessman (Pablo Sanso Gil) goes to work as his humdrum job and also poses for a wristwatch ad campaign. One night he goes to sleep, and when he awakens, his wristwatch-posing hand has a large sore on it. He wraps it in bandages, but the physical blight will not disappear and the man slowly goes mad, heightened by the film’s score, as the sore hinders his ability to do much of anything.
Narrative-wise, I wasn’t entirely sure what the man did, or how the two gigs seemed to connect, which might be why I’m confused on the film’s message and my own interpretation. If the business-suit-stuck-at-a-desk was connected to the modeling gig, then you could interpret the sore as a physical manifestation of the employee trying to find a way out of his job.
On the other hand, if the modeling gig is the one bit of happiness in the businessman’s otherwise mundane existence, than the overwhelmingly emotional reaction to the sore makes more sense, as it is impeding his ability to escape his everyday plight. Or was the initial photo shoot and ad just a case of him daydreaming, and the sore arrives to disrupt his future plans? And then there’s the ending…
In the end, No packs enough in its running time to have me still contemplating what I saw. On the one hand, that’s a positive; I’m still engaged with figuring it out, long after it has ended. On the other hand, am I having trouble with my own interpretation as a failing on my part as an audience, or were certain elements in the film not as clear as they could’ve been? Was the ambiguity intentional, or accidental?
Personally, I’m fine with it. Had this been exposition-laden or slowed to a crawl to spell everything out for me, it’d be far more annoying than a little ambiguity and confusion. I still don’t know what the overall message is, and there’s definitely a case of “cutting off the nose to spite the face” in there, but the overall experience was appropriately off-putting, and enjoyable in that sense. The score alone puts you on edge; it has hints of other abrasive scores, but I was hard-pressed to remember where I’d heard such similar sounds. Regardless, it captures one man’s descent into crazy quite well.
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