'Maganda siya': Aquino sisters watch Imelda Marcos' docu 'The Kingmaker'

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2020 08:20 AM | Updated as of Feb 26 2020 11:49 AM

"Maganda siya." 

This was the reaction of Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, one of the daughters of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino and former President Corazon Aquino, after watching "The Kingmaker, a documentary about the life of former First Lady Imelda Marcos at the University of the Philippines (UP) Film Institute Tuesday. 
 
Aquino-Cruz, together with her sister Viel Aquino-Dee, declined to give further comments, saying they were in a hurry.

Human rights groups screened the 2019 documentary by Emmy winning director Lauren Greenfield as the Philippines marked the 34th anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolution that ended the two-decade rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
 
The film follows Marcos's widow Imelda as the titular character through 5 years, documenting the change of fortunes not only for the Marcos family but also the country. 
 
Ninoy Aquino, the foremost opposition leader against the Marcoses, was killed while being escorted by law enforcers at the Manila International Airport in 1983. Three years later, his widow was swept to power in the 4-day bloodless revolt following allegations of widespread cheating during a snap election between her and Ferdinand Marcos. 
 
The democracy icons are mentioned in the film and their son Benigno III or Noynoy, a former president, was also an interviewee. 
 
'EXORCISE HISTORICAL AMNESIA"
 
The film, which first screened at Venice in 2019 and premiered locally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on January 29, was shown to a packed theater during its 3 screenings at UP. 
 
Students, members of the academe, and others who lived through the dictatorship also attended. 
 
Richiemart Potutanon, assistant professor of history at the UP Visayas, lauded the film's cinematography and story, while also pointing out the sad realities associated with its narrative.
 
"Nakakalungkot din kase totoo ito. Ito ang kwento ng bansang Pilipinas, kwento ng sambayanang Pilipino," he said. 
 
Martial law survivor Ruth Mamangon noted the film's attempt to balance perspectives on the Marcoses. 
 
"Hindi niya pinakitang villainous si Imelda. In fact, very human. Ito 'yung tao na human. Gusto niya lang maganda. Kaya lang, in the process of getting what is beautiful, 'yun nasasaktan niya 'yung mga tao, so it's up to the audience to conclude that," she said. 
 
DAKILA Executive Director Leni Velasco, one of the organizers, said the screening of "The Kingmaker" during the People Power anniversary was timely. 
 
She hoped it would "exorcise historical amnesia" that has led to changing attitudes toward the Marcos era and the return of the Marcos family to power. 
 
The film also documented Imelda's son Bongbong's failed bid for the vice presidency and the rise of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been compared to Ferdinand Marcos. 
 
"We've already forgotten the many sacrifices of those who struggled for our freedoms and democracy. It's high time for the public to really have a critical discourse, especially on what's happening now, that our rights and freedoms are being taken away again," Velasco said. 
 
DAKILA hopes to screen the documentary to schools around the Philippines and adapt it into theater to deliver its message to more people.
 
--With John Lester Valentin, ABS-CBN News