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The New York Times Q&A with ‘No’ Director Pablo Larraín

Pablo Larraín and His Unintentional Trilogy 

In 2008, the Chilean director Pablo Larraín made a splashy international debut with “Tony Manero,” a chilling portrait of a serial killer obsessed with John Travolta’s character in “Saturday Night Fever” and operating seemingly unhindered at the height of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. A few years later, Mr. Larraín was back with “Post-Mortem,” another character study of a deviant personality, but set during the 1973 military coup that brought Pinochet to power.

Now Mr. Larraín, 36, has made “No,” one of nine films still in contention for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film, and the subject is once again the Pinochet era. This time, though, his subject is more uplifting: “No,” which stars the Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, focuses on the 1988 plebiscite in which Pinochet, sure of his control of the country, allowed Chileans to vote on the future of his regime and was shocked when they voted to end his dictatorial rule.

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