by RICA AREVALO
Before Lauren Greenfield’s The Kingmaker, the world got to know former First Lady Imelda Marcos in Ramona Diaz’ Imelda (2003), winner of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival’s Excellence in Cinematography Award (Documentary). A Makati court ordered to stop the screenings citing that the First Lady was deceived. The controversy created a buzz that made it triumph over Spider-Man 2 at the local box office.
The Kingmaker debuted at the 76th Venice Film Festival and was screened on Jan. 29 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the UP Film Center’s Cine Adarna to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the First Quarter Storm. Tickets were sold out.
For those who missed the screenings, you will now have a chance to see it at the CCP on Feb. 19 (1:30 p.m., 4 p.m, 6 p.m., and 9 p.m), and at the UP Cine Adarna on Feb. 25 (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) in time for the 34th EDSA People Power anniversary.
Imelda as we know her is what we see onscreen—charming, sophisticated, and delusional. Turn on the camera and the microphone, the star turns on her act. She tells “herstory” in her own candid terms—truthful with a sense of humor. “I was eight years old when I lost my money, este, my mother,” she narrates.
There was no guilt purchasing animals from Africa and shipping them to Calauit, Palawan for their own “safari,” displacing more than 200 families in the area. She used the diamonds hidden in her grandson’s diapers to pay off her lawyers. She chats with the filmmaker alongside the artworks of Pablo Picasso and Michelangelo in the background.
She hobnobbed with world leaders Saddam Hussein, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and Richard M. Nixon, among others. From being thrown out of the country in 1986, to reclaiming their old glory, her ultimate goal is to bring back the greatness of the Marcos dynasty.
Half of the documentary is from Imelda’s point of view, Greenfield includes some people to factcheck her claims—Martial Law survivors, residents of Calauit, and an official from the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
What is new in Greenfield’s work? Greenfield started shooting Imelda in 2014, followed the campaign of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. until the present administration. We see the close mother-and-son relationship in the political rallies and Sen. Imee Marcos’s (Imelda’s daughter) connection to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Under the present administration, Imelda’s wish to give a hero’s burial to her husband was granted. The one-hour-and-41-minute dialectic documentary also shows how the young students are clueless about the country’s history.
“Perception is real, and the truth is not,” announces the 90- year-old Imelda.
This is a must-see for all ages. Vanity and excess is all over the prominent figure but through Greenfield’s lens, reality takes over.
Tickets are available at the CCP Box Office and TicketWorld. For block screenings, call the CCP Sales and Promotions Division at (028) 832 3704 or 3706.