Hearts and Minds
John Sayles is the dean of American independent film, writing, directing and editing a series of 17 tough films, the most accessible of which is Lone Star.
In the last few years, Sayles has been on a losing streak, creating films, some of which he has financed himself, that the American public, charmed by special effects, has largely ignored. Undeterred, Sayles still makes the tough ones, with often obscure topics, at least obscure to history-ignorant Americans.
And now, he has produced perhaps the most difficult of all. To history buffs, to people interested in Filipino history and beliefs, Amigo will be welcome. Others might find it dull and plodding. It’s a highly specialized film.
The Philippines, 1900, nearly at the end of an “American-Philippines” war, replete with rebels and government forces, American troop movements, and, of course, American occupation. In the Luzon district, in a small village, Americans come in and virtually take over, forcing the village-chief (Joel Torre) into a largely untenable position.