Have you ever heard of the Philippine–American War? Did you know that during this struggle, an estimated number of 34,000 – 1,000,000 Filipino men, women, and children were killed as a result? It is not surprising for those who haven’t heard of this conflict as this is one of many America’s dark patches during its imperialist run to “civilize” foreign Asian countries. How do we prevent a story like this to be completely forgotten in the dust crooks of history? One of the most effective ways to provide a visceral reminder is through the power of film and the media and it is through this format that one can tell this forgotten story. This is where AMIGO comes in.
While this is not the first attempt at bringing this forgotten conflict into light, it is one of only a small handful of films directed by an American to address the war, the only other notable example being The Real Glory, a film that was made in 1939. Directed by John Sayles, AMIGO stars Joel Torre as Rafael Dacanay, the mayor of a rural village caught in the murderous crossfire of the Philippine-American War in 1900. When Rafael Dacanayʼs (Joel Torre) rural village in the Philippines is occupied by American troops hunting for Filipino guerillas, he comes under pressure to collaborate from both the blood-and-guts Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) and the head of the local guerillas, his brother Simón (Ronnie Lazaro). Rafael must carefully make the near-impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by civilians in an occupied country.
It is important to note that nearly all of the AMIGO crew is from the Philippines with all post-production sound & picture being done in Quezon City and Makati and that all Filipino-speaking roles (Tagalog) roles are played by Pilipino actors only. Considering that the director is a white American, I definitely give them credit points for the people involved that they are going out of their way to be extremely authentic with this film. I appreciate that due to the sensitive nature of this topic and the fact that this war made a further crack in the Filipino cultural identity (a crack that was first made by the Spanish centuries before), the respect the film makers are giving to it guarantees that I am going to watch this when it comes out. Expect a review for our very own Dino-Ray in the coming weeks.
These are the release dates for AMIGO so if you see it playing in your city, do yourself a huge favor and check it out. Be educated in a dark, forgotten event of American and Filipino history. You can get a taste of the film with the trailer provided below.
Opening on Aug. 19th in the following cities:
Bergenfield, NJ — Clearview Bergenfield
New York, NY — AMC Empire 25
Los Angeles, CA — Laemmle’s Monica 4
Los Angeles, CA (Cerritos) — Edwards Cerritos Stadium 10
Los Angeles, CA (West Covina) — AMC Puente Hills 20
San Diego, CA — UA Horton Plaza 14
Tukwila, WA (Seattle) — AMC Southcenter 16
San Jose, CA (Milpitas) — Century 20 Great Mall 20 + XD
Stockton, CA — Regal Stockton City Center Stadium 16
San Fran (Daly City) — UA Stonestown Twin
San Fran (Union City) — Cinemark Union Landing 25 + XD
Opening on Aug. 26th in:
San Jose, CA (Santa Clara) — AMC Mercardo 20
Honolulu, HI — Regal Dole Cannery
Guam — Micronesia Mall 10
Opening on Sep. 2nd in:
Virginia Beach, VA (Norfolk) — AMC Lynnhaven 18
Washington, DC — AMC Rio 18
Las Vegas, NV — Regal Village Square 18
Seattle, WA — Northwest Film Forum
Portland, OR — Hollywood Theater
Albuquerque, NM — Guild Cinema — Limited engagement; ends on Sep. 14th
Opening on Sept 16th in:
Dallas, TX — Texas Theater
Minneapolis, MN — St. Anthony Main Theater
Chicago, IL — Siskel Film Center
Special engagements in:
Oct. 1st only – Scottsdale, AZ — Scottsdale Int. Film Festival