Since June 2016 President Rodrigo Duterte has ruled in the Philippines. He has become internationally renowned for his controversial statements and for his ruthless approach regarding the sale and use of drugs in his country. Several thousands have been killed in his war on drugs.
In the thriller Alpha: The Right to Kill, director Brillante Mendoza closely portrays the war on drugs in the Philippines. We follow policeman Espino and drug dealer Elijah. On the surface, Espino appears sincere and law-abiding, however, it does not take long before you realize that he is downright corrupt. Elijah, on the other hand, lives in deep poverty and resorts to desperate methods to secure his family an income. Amongst the scenes in the movie that leave a lasting impression is when he hides drugs in his daughter’s nappy to avoid being discovered by the vigilantes who patrol the streets to prevent people from dealing drugs. The film portrays an excellent picture of a sombre reality in the Philippines today. It won the Special Prize of the Jury at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2018.