'Madilim Ang Gabi' tells the 'other side' of Duterte's 'drug war'
MANILA, Philippines – Madilim Ang Gabi (Dark is the Night), one of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2018 movies, is about Sara (Gina Alajar) and Lando (Phillip Salvador), who peddle shabu. Directed by Adolfo Alix Jr, the movie tracks the couples' lives as they attempt to get out of the drug business amid President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial and bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Just as they decide to change their ways, their son (Felix Roco) disappears.
Madilim Ang Gabi was previously screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 2017. In an interview with Rappler on the sidelines of a meet and greet last August 14, Alix said they were looking for the "right timing" to screen it in the Philippines.
"We are thankful that we were given a platform such as the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. A film like we did is a film that needs to be seen by a lot of people because of the issues that the movie presents," he said.
Alix said as one of the first few films to tackle issues surrounding the anti-drug campaign, he felt it was important for viewers to see the "other side of the story" – of families who peddled drugs but find it hard to step away from that life.
The film is also a mini reunion for Alajar and Salvador on the big screen, who have done political movies in the past – Lino Brocka's Kapit sa Patalim and Orapronobis. Lino Brocka's Kapit sa Patalim told the story of labor unions while Orapronobis is about activism and the resistance movement after the fall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
"I told them kasi I'm a big fan of their tandem," Alix said about getting the two big stars.
"I guess to discuss this issue, I think they're the perfect actors to discuss another issue that's very's political. So sinabi ko na gusto ko (I told them I wanted) to pay homage to what they have done in the past. So they said yes."
Like director Erik Matti, whose movie BuyBust was about the anti-drug campaign, Alix finds importance in documenting the here and now through cinema.
"I think it's very important kasi film is a recorder of history. Certain aspects of Filipino history has to be recorded. And film, as a platform is very important. I think yung nangyayari (what's happening), we take all sides. I think that's what's good with filmmaking. You can take a single situation and take different points of view. So each filmmaker will have a point of view regardless on the subject matter." – Rappler.com