Amigo

in Rhinebeck
April 14
Saturday, 7pm

In Person: Writer/Director John Sayles with producing partner Maggie Renzi
(USA / 2010 / written and directed by John Sayles)
unrated / 128 mins
Tickets on sale now at box office in Rhinebeck:
$10 Adults / $9 Seniors & Students / $8 Members
When not making films such as MATEWAN, 8 MEN OUT, SECRET OF ROAN INISH, LONESTAR, PASSION FISH, LIMBO, RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS 7, BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, John Sayles, the doyen of independent filmmaking, has been writing fiction and winning awards.
His latest film (his seventeenth) takes place in 1900 as the U.S. invades the Philippines under the pretext of liberating the locals from Spanish control. The film traces the war’s impact on a small Filipino village where the mayor, Rafael Dacanay (Joel Torre), is pressured to help Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) and his soldiers root out the guerrillas, even while harboring the knowledge that his own brother is a local guerrilla leader. Meanwhile his brother (Ronnie Lazaro) considers anyone who cooperates with the Americans to be a traitor. 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.
In an interview with NPR’s Neal Conan, Sayles notes that the war influenced an important part of the American psyche. “We went from being the people who considered ourselves the champions of liberty — the anti-imperialists — to proudly saying, ‘Oh, now we’ve got a colony, just like Britain and France and Russia and Japan.’ In researching the film, Sayles says he was also surprised to find parallels with other American wars. “This is the war [that introduced] waterboarding — it was called ‘the water cure’ back then — [and it] was controversial in its time. There were congressional committees about it, and a lot of back and forth.” In his research, Sayles also found numerous references to the phrase “hearts and minds.” He says he had always associated the term with the Vietnam War, until he found that Theodore Roosevelt had also used it. “It actually goes back to the Bible.” Indeed, viewers of Amigo are likely to find many parallels between the Philippine-American War and the one in Vietnam.  “We got into an imperial war in a place where we didn’t understand the culture — really didn’t even understand the political situation. But once we were there, once the flag was planted, there was this idea: ‘Well, we should stay here.’ “
 “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
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