1900’s Philippine-American War Movie: Amigo

Click on this link to John Sayles’ blog, for a list of the opening dates around the country.

Filmed on location in the Philippines, the movie is set in the early 1900’s, during a time in history when the Philippines was occupied by the US, .  More information on my blog post “Bring John Sayles’ Film “Amigo” to Monterey Bay.

There is a picture of a carabao (Philippine water buffalo) — looking annoyed — at the top of his blog.

Bring John Sayles’ Film “Amigo” to Monterey Area

The latest movie by Academy Award-nominated writer/director John Sayles– filmed on location in the Philippines — is set in the 1900’s, during a time in history when the Philippines was occupied by the US.

The Philippines and the US share a great deal of history, but many do not know about this particular era of Philippine and American history — and that this was the first time the US Military fought beyond the Americas as a world power.

The movie recently opened in US cities where there are large populations of Filipino-Americans.  But it looks like Monterey country residents who want to see the movie will have to drive to the San Francisco Bay Area, unless it plays at the Osio or Salinas area movie theaters.

There is a campaign to “Bring Amigo to Your Town”.  So…for those interested in seeing the movie, please send a link of this post to your friends — and click here to add Monterey County zip codes to the campaign.

The reviews have been excellent:

“Entertaining and relevant!”  -A.O. Scott, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Engrossing!  Intelligently rip-roaring, a thoughtful action film.” -J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE

“FOUR STARS… Sayles’ best in a decade!” -Joe Neumaier, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Here is the movie SYNOPSIS (from the movie website http://www3.amigomovie.com/ — where you can see the movie trailer)

AMIGO, the 17th feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles, stars legendary Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War.

When U.S. troops occupy his village, Rafael comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails officer (Chris Cooper) to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters.  But Rafael’s brother (Ronnie Lazaro) is the head of the local guerillas, and considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor.  Rafael quickly finds himself forced to make the impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by ordinary civilians in an occupied country.

A powerful drama of friendship, betrayal, romance and heartbreaking violence, AMIGO is a page torn from the untold history of the Philippines, and a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts.

It is worth reading A.O. Scott’s review, titled “The Cause is Familiar, but the War is Less so”.  Here is an excerpt:

“We’re here to win hearts and minds,” says Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) as he rides into San Isidro. His use of a phrase made notorious during Vietnam (and revived, often without irony, in more recent wars) may sound a bit anachronistic and overly pointed, but it also reinforces a disconcerting parallel. Long before the word quagmire was applied to Vietnam, Mark Twain used it to describe America’s Philippines entanglement, which he vigorously opposed. An early statement of American policy declared that “only through American occupation” was “the idea of a free, self-governing and united Filipino commonwealth at all conceivable.” It is hard to imagine a clearer statement of the contradictions of nation building.

If you have seen the movie, please comment.  Thank you.

~ Lola Jane