Filmmaker Brillante Mendoza: Netflix series shows 'necessary' PH drug war

Known for his confronting style of social realism, critically acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza is set to release the Philippine’s first series through Netflix on April 09, 2018 in a fearless portrayal of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial War on Drugs.
The storyline will confront the character of Joseph, known as ‘Amo’, a young high-school student lured as a small-time meth pusher that eventually got caught up with real group of drug syndicates, bad cops and corrupt government officials.
Hollywood Director Quentin Tarantino once described Mendoza’s films as ‘bold, daring’ that won him the award of ‘Best Director’ at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Mendoza also faced censorship issues from the Catholic majority in the Philippines due to the explicit nature of his work with the highest classification rating deemed to be allegedly exploiting the poor’s condition only to gain sympathy and recognition.

In his interview with the British Newspaper, The Telegraph, Brillante Mendoza shared his sentiments about how his new series will be perceived.

“I have this feeling that because I am doing a series against illegal drugs that people are prejudging it,” Brillante said.

“It will pass through different points of view, different perspectives, depending on the subject matter that we are dealing with,” he added.

“It will start with the young student because he is the lead character who is selling drugs but then he has a relative, an uncle who is a corrupt policeman, so we focus on him.”

Meanwhile, the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) has already called for his TV series to be CANCELLED as it allegedly ‘actively promote’ violence and extra-judicial killings.

INPUD Executive Director Judy Chang claimed that “Glorifying President Duterte’s war on drugs is glorification of mass murder, killings and human rights abuses”

Mendoza strongly denies the accusation as “This series will show the two sides of the coin”, he said and will not repel from depicting the existence of police corruption and the impact of War on Drugs to the poverty-stricken families in the country.

Mendoza insisted that the President is clearly misunderstood in his Leadership style with blinded human rights groups accusing him as a ‘murderer’ linking him to the Davao Death Squad with 7,000 people killed which consists mostly of drug users, petty criminals and street children.

He also denies that his work of art is advocating ‘government propaganda’ by elaborating that “the message is that we should all understand that there is a [drugs] situation in the Philippines… and now the government has really got very tough about it,”

“Of course, this is a very delicate matter, this is not just your ordinary issue about human rights and corruption... People should realise that this [drugs] problem should be addressed,” Mr Mendoza added.

“I’m not saying that it should be addressed in the way that this government is dealing with it,” he said. “But people tend to criticise and to give their opinions without even going deeper into the issue.”

Mendoza aims to deliver the attainment of CHANGE as his ambition for this film work.  “That’s the ultimate goal and the ultimate ambition in my lifetime, that I will be able to achieve that,” he said.

“And if not, at least I tried, at least we tried..people should start doing something concrete, something progressive, something they could share, for the improvement for the lives of Filipinos and also for the Philippines,” he added.


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