Just a little over a hundred years ago, the U.S. was waging a war against Spain in the Philippine IslandsÔÇôa conflict that's been largely forgotten today, but was a key event in Latino history for both Americas. Now John Sayles, the godfather of independent filmmaking, has put his own money on the line to create a visually and emotionally stunning new movie about that war: "Amigo" opens for a limited run this Friday, August 18.
Chris Cooper ("American Beauty," "The Bourne Identity") and DJ Qualls ("Memphis Beat") represent the American military presence in all its cruelty and ineptitude; a host of distinguished Filipino actors play their own ancestors, including the title character brought to life by Joel Torre, and the role of Spain and the Church is represented by U.S. Latino actor Yul Vazquez. Vazquez is probably best-known for his work in the "Che" mini-series, or more recently the award-winning TV movie, "Lies in Plain Sight." He'll also be a key player in the upcoming Starz series "Magic City," a crime-family drama set in Miami in the 1950's.
This isn't Sayles' first beautiful recreation of an obscure historical event, and it won't be his last. He wrote and directed the amazing "Eight Men Out," about the Black Sox scandal; and "Matewan," about a lethal labor uprising. He's visited rural Alabama in 1950 in "Honeydripper," and his next project is another writer/director job, this time about the Rosenberg trial.