No (2012) – By Cary Conley

A handsome young man works in an office by day and moonlights as a fashion model after hours. His latest ad is for a watch, with the layout focusing on his hand held up to his face and prominently featuring the watch wrapped around his wrist. It is clear he is proud of this add as he keeps it at home and constantly returns to look at it again and again.

One day the young man notices a blemish growing on his hand. A simple–if slightly enlarged–wart, it would be easy to have removed by seeing a doctor. But the young man becomes obsessed with this wart, alternately looking at his newly deformed hand and comparing it to the previously perfect hand preserved in the advertisement for the watch. He tries to cover it up but still cannot concentrate on his work as he is constantly drawn to look under the bandage. His work suffers and he begins to imagine his colleagues openly laughing at him. He can’t work, he can’t eat, he can’t sleep–until he decides to remove the wart himself, in rather gory fashion.

Director Guillermo P. Bosch has created an interesting story of one man’s descent into obsession and madness, Repulsion-style. Lasting a little less than 10 minutes and filmed with no dialogue or sound effects, these choices allow the viewer to focus on the unnamed character’s unhinging. We see his quietly vain attitude and his perturbed initial response to the wart growing on his hand. But vanity turns to obsession which in turn causes the young man’s judgment to become clouded. Why doesn’t he simply go to the doctor? Is he so vain that he cannot stand the humiliation he imagines would occur at the physician’s first sight of the wart? This is the same type of humiliation he suffers as he imagines his colleagues laughing at his deformity. Or is his vanity so great that he can’t bear the thought of a scar left over after the removal of the wart?

Guillermo uses a weirdly hypnotic score to signal the character’s descent into madness. The incessant buzzing in the young man’s head gives the viewer a sense of that madness. Pablo Sanso Gil stars as the young model and does an excellent job of depicting a character riddled by obsession and willing to go to extremes to remove the blemish. He alternately cries, shivers, and screams until he makes the final decision to remove the blemish himself. At this point he becomes unnervingly calm.

The final scene is a wickedly twisted irony that at once makes the viewer wish the film would continue while at the same time grateful it ends when it does. The special effects are quite solid and the sound design, by Jose Serrador, is top-notch and quite creepy. Ivan Palomares’ musical score blends superbly with the images. No is a fine little film that displays immense talent by its filmmakers.

No has been shown at over 100 film festivals and has won numerous awards. While the film is as yet unreleased to the public, if you get a chance to catch it at a film festival this year, do yourself a favor and get a front row seat.