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Amigo (film)

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Title: Amigo (film)  
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Amigo (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Sayles
Produced by
Written by John Sayles
Based on A Moment in the Sun
Music by Mason Daring
Edited by John Sayles
Anarchist's Convention Inc.
Distributed by Variance Films (North America)
Star Cinema & Origin8Media (Philippines)
Release dates
  • July 14, 2010 (2010-07-14)
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Amigo is a 2010 American-Filipino drama film written and directed by John Sayles.[1] The film takes place in the Philippines in 1900 during the Philippine–American War. It is one of only a small handful of films directed by an American to address the war. The only other notable example is The Real Glory (1939), starring Gary Cooper.


Amigo centers on Rafael Dacanay, kapitan of the fictional barrio of San Isidro in a rice-growing area of Luzon.[2] His brother Simón, head of the local guerrilla band, has forced the surrender of the Spanish guardia civil outpost and charged Rafael with the task of imprisoning the guardia Captain and the barrio’s Spanish friar, Padre Hidalgo, in the name of the revolutionary government. But when the American troops chasing General Emilio Aguinaldo arrive, the Spanish officer and Padre Hidalgo are freed, and a garrison under the command of Lieutenant Ike Compton is left to ‘protect’ the barrio. The American occupation policy now changes from ‘hearts and minds’ to ‘concentration’ (what was called ‘hamletting’ during the Vietnam war) and Rafael has to answer to both the Americans and the Filipino patriots, with deadly consequences.


Critical reception

The film was met with generally positive reviews. The film received a score of 62% with a certified "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 45 reviews.[3]

James Rocchi of MSN Movies said the film "feels more passionate and provocative than 99% of everything else out there."[4]

Connie Ogle from the Miami Herald in her review said "A reflection on power and betrayal, on the thin line between acting as your conscience demands and protecting obligations close to your heart."[5]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars wrote "John Sayles, a filmmaker by trade, a provocateur by nature, means to stir things up with Amigo. That he does, and more power to him."[6]

Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger wrote "By choosing Rafael as its hero, "Amigo" looks not only at a little-known part of American history, but at a rarely examined type of movie character."[7]

David Fear of Time Out New York wrote in his "Few filmmakers are ambitious enough these days to try addressing our present world-policing endeavors through the prism of past ones, so it almost seems churlish to take Sayles to task for relying on overly dogmatic storytelling."[8]

Mark Neumaier of the New York Daily News wrote "An engrossing, perceptive, supremely humane drama about imperialism and loyalty."[9]

Background and production

Cinematical reports that the film was once titled Baryo, and that the idea for it came from a yet-to-be-published novel Some Time in the Sun, detailing U.S. imperialism in the Philippines.[10] The book will actually be called A Moment in the Sun, though the unrealized screenplay which inspired it was called Some Time in the Sun.[11]

The screenplay was written in two weeks and it was filmed over eight months on the island province of Bohol.[2]

The cast includes the "crème de la crème" of Philippine actors.[2]


It was screened on September 14 at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Then later at the San Sebastián International Film Festival and the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Amigo had its New York premier at the 2011 Asian American International Film Festival on August 10.

In the Philippines, the film was released on July 6, 2011 by Star Cinema and Origin8Media.

The film was released in North America on August 19, 2011 by Variance Films.


  1. ^ Amigo at the Internet Movie Database. Last accessed: August 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Clemente, Dennis (August 19, 2011). "Sayles’ Philippine-American war movie ‘Amigo’ is noble but unexceptional".  
  3. ^ "Amigo".  
  4. ^ "Amigo:Critics' Reviews". Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Amigo (R)". Miami Herald. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  6. ^ .Rolling Stones Film review. Last accessed: March 26, 2014.
  7. ^ .New Jersey Film review. Last accessed: March 26, 2014.
  8. ^ .Time Out New York Film review. Last accessed: March 26, 2014.
  9. ^ .New York Daily News Film review. Last accessed: March 26, 2014.
  10. ^ Bartyzel, Monika (2010-07-11). "John Sayles' Next Film: 'Amigo' & Its Off-the-Radar Website". Cinematical. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  11. ^ Danelle Myron, "Novel News" April 15, 2010 Retrieved 2010-08-28.

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