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Alyx Ayn Arumpac

In two years, over 20,000 men, women and children are killed in Duterte’s war against drugs in the Philippines. A little boy is born into this cruel system and a man tries to fight it.

The streets of Manila’s shanty-towns smell of death and a growing fear is spreading through the Filipino capital. Rodrigo Duterte’s policy to destroy the drug-trafficking networks has given unlimited powers to the local police, who seem to be unleashed like a ferocious beast in the poorest districts and authorised to eliminate consumers and small street dealers, while the drug lords are left alone. The filmmaker plunges into the city streets unhesitatingly, making a raw ethnographic film built on a disquieting night-time story. The pavements are strewn with bodies, blood is cleaned off terraces like the waste from an ordinary evening. To cross through the brutality and the worried crowds who witness the massacre disillusioned, the filmmaker finds guides. A distraught coroner, a silent journalist investigating the disaster and a child, Jomari, who has already seen too much and whose parents are in a crowded jail for taking drugs. Jomari gets by, plays at being the cruel police with his friend, sleeps in a makeshift hut and attends the funerals of the locals that he knew. Everyone continues to try to overcome the situation. Anger is mounting as strongly as sadness, the street rises up but police corruption is everywhere and its excesses are monstrous. Whence this evil that has been unleashed across the whole city? In alleyways with ghostly presences, the filmmaker’s wanderings do not appear to encounter any form of justice.

Clémence Arrivé



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