amigo (2011)

written and directed by john sayles

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AMIGO, the 17th feature film from writer-director John Sayles, stars Joel Torre as Rafael Dacanay, a village mayor caught in the murderous cross-fire of the Philippine-American War in 1900. When U.S. troops garrison his village, Rafael comes under pressure to collaborate from the blood-and-guts Colonel Hardacre (Chris Cooper) as he tries not to betray his people, especially his brother Simón (Ronnie Lazaro), head of the local Filipino guerillas. A sympathetic American lieutenant (Garret Dillahunt) learns that “hearts and minds” cannot be won at gunpoint. A devious Spanish friar (Yul Vazquez) thwarts communication with his spiteful intrigues. Rafael is forced to make the near-impossible, potentially deadly decisions faced by civilians in an occupied country. Friendship and betrayal, romance and heart-breaking violence, AMIGO is a page torn from the forgotten history of imperialism and a mirror of today’s unresolvable conflicts.

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