Ever Hear of the Philippine American War?

20 Oct

I am trying to recall if there is another artist like filmmaker-novelist John Sayles—it may be a failure of cultural literacy, I can’t think of one. Maybe you can answer that. Anyway, my second conversation with Sayles is available over at the Millions.

As befits Sayles’s accomplishments our chat is lengthy including some banter about a whole host of peripheral topics (Robert Altman, Tom Cruise, Howard Zinn, gaps in American history etc). And as one might expect there is a fair share of verbiage about his new novel A Moment in The Sun and his latest feature film Amigo

Making films like Amigo requires both bravery and faith that there is an audience for films without special affects, glorification of blood and gore and superfluous sexual scenes and subtitles (in this case half the film is spoken in one of the Philippines’s 113 languages [Tagalog?]) And then there is the story set in the Philippines in 1900 with American troops garrisoned in the countryside.Fast forward to mid 20th century Vietnam and you see the same story reenacted. But then again who knew?

Currently reading The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell (Putnam)

2 Responses to “Ever Hear of the Philippine American War?”

  1. Carl Quinlan October 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Something happened to American cinema in the late ’70s, around the rise of George Lucas and Steven Speilberg. Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark, as entertaining as they were, meant that suddenly there were less films like Dog Day Afternoon and The Conversation. Suddenly films had to have happy endings and merchandise tie-ins. Those of us who prefer subtler fare had less to choose from. I applaud John Sayles for surviving for the past thirty years, and I hope he continues for years to come.

    • Robert Birnbaaum October 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm #


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