ACCLAIMED American filmmaker John Sayles utilizes his expertise as he captures the drama behind the Filipino-American war in his newest epic movie, Amigo.
Set during the decline of the Spanish colonization, Amigo is a historical drama about the entry of the Americans into the Philippines and the Katipunan uprising.
The film begins with American soldiers invading a small barrio called San Isidro. Rafael, the barrio’s cabeza, (head) is particularly torn. His son and brother are with the rebels while the whole barrio looks up to him to keep them safe. Rafael knows he must keep up appearances of civility and cooperation. He proclaims himself an amigo (friend) to the Americans.
Eventually, Rafael wins the trust of troop leader Lieutenant Compton. In fact, in spite of the language barrier and their conflicting interests, Rafael and the Lieutenant have the same trait: They are both pacifists at heart.
However, friendship has no place in a war and as the American occupation policy gets tougher, Rafael finds it more difficult to keep the peace.
Amigo’s story may be a fictionalized account but it is based on research and the truths that it tells are heartbreakingly real.
Considered as one of the moving forces of American independent cinema, Sayles, wrote, directed and produced the film. Sayles said he was intrigued when he learned about the Philippine-American War and was surprised that it wasn’t thought in Philippine schools.
As Sayles researched for more information on the subject, he realized that this was a war “torn from the forgotten history of imperialism and a mirror of today’s irresolvable conflicts.”
Sayles believes that this is one story that needed to be told. He says, “The Philippine-American War is history that needs to be recaptured in the public imagination . . . Amigo deals with one of the most common but least examined aspects of human experience—the story of people caught in between.”
The movie was shot entirely on location in Bohol and features a talented cast of actors from the Philippines and the US, including FAMAS Best Supporting Actor and Urian Best Actor Joel Torre playing Rafael and Garret Dillahunt from the movie No Country for Old Men as Lt. Compton.
Also in the cast are renowned Filipino thespians Ronnie Lazaro, Bembol Roco, Rio Locsin, Irma Adlawan and Jon Arcilla, as well as US actors Yul Vasquez (who appeared in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and Ridley Scott’s American Gangster), and Chris Cooper who won an Oscar and Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor award for Adaptation.
Amigo opens in theaters on July 6. For updates and information log on to its Facebook page and follow @AmigoTheMovie on Twitter. The movie is released through Star Cinema and distributed by Origin8 Media, a film production and marketing outfit founded by the creators of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and the hit comedy Kimmy Dora.