Imelda Marcos was made for the camera. She was made more for public than for private. In the second documentary about her life, following Ramona Diaz’s Sundance-winning 2003 effort, the former First Lady of the Philippines flexes her flair for the spotlight once again, this time in a carnation pink terno, assisted by two uniformed maids, pointing at her gold-framed art collection, making mischievous pauses as she spouts quotables we might have heard before (“They found no skeletons in my closet, only beautiful shoes.”) and ones that sound fairly new to our ears (“I had nothing against him,” she says as the footage of Ninoy Aquino’s dead body on the tarmac flashes on the screen, “except that he talked too much.”).
More about Marcos and Martial Law:
- SATIRE: Marcoses attempt to set record for world’s largest food poisoning incident
- Martial Law baby
- The NPA arms landing that convinced Marcos to declare Martial Law
- “Son, I do not have a choice”: Ronnie Nathanielsz recalls why he refused to leave Marcos camp pre-EDSA
- The original Tisoy on his exile years, Marcos and his tsutsuwas, and not putting his pain in paintings
This is The Kingmaker.
While the Imelda docu focused mostly on the Rose of Tacloban’s rise to power, the new 100-minute film, The Kingmaker, builds on this and explores her return to the Philippines together with her family, and her mission to put her son Bongbong Marcos back in Malacañang—to regain the ruling status the Marcoses lost in 1986 after the EDSA revolt.
The film has made its way to several international festivals and have been glowingly received. Variety called it “jaw-dropping,” adding it is “the juiciest insider look at a corrupt world leader since Barbet Schroeder’s General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait. IndieWire called it, “A warning sign for the entire world."
Truth be told, we’ve only seen the trailer, which is being passed around social media and private messaging threads as you read this. The docu by Lauren Greenfield (Queen of Versailles, Generation Wealth) looks in the beginning like something we’ve seen before, at least from the 2-minute, 50-second sneak peek, until the election of Rodrigo Duterte into the presidency figures into the series of footages.
The film looks, as the reviews declared, very juicy indeed. And Imelda looks, in Greenfield’s camera, like she relished the attention. While The Kingmaker is due for a theatrical release abroad this fall, there is no word as to when it will be screened in the Philippines. Showtime will release it on television in 2020.