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65th San Sebastian Film Festival
22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2010. 58th Edition  > Festival Diary > «When you have wars of occupation, someone is going to be caught in the middle»
«When you have wars of occupation, someone is going to be caught in the middle»
Friday, September 24th, 2010

Aregular visitor to the Festival, John Sayles is here this time around to present his latest film
Amigo, set during the Philippine- American war. The film is set in 1900 during the American occupation of the Philippines so it was perhaps inevitable that at the press conference he gave after the screening of the film yesterday Sayles was asked about the inevitable parallels Amigo raises with more recent interventions in Vietnam,Iraq or Afghanistan. He replied that if he had wanted to make a movie in Iraq, he would have done so; what he really wanted to do was deal with the eternal dilemmas that individuals caught between two forces face in countries under occupation when it is hard to know who is a traitor and who is a patriot. “It’s unavoidable that there are parallels with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Palestine. When you have wars of occupation,someone is going to be caught in the middle”

He stressed how important it was for the film to be shot in several languages to provide the audience with a variety of viewpoints: “The film just wouldn’t work in one language” and he said that what interested him about this particular war was it showed the roots of the negative side of the 20th century. Unlike today racists and imperialists were openly proud of their position at this time, (Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden”was written during the war). Sayles is currently writing the script for a project about the Rosenbergs, the couple who were executed for espionage in 1953, which he is still trying to get funding for.

Allan OWEN


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