The Kingmaker

10th December 2019

By: Sabrina Lemer


The Kingmaker – directed by Lauren Greenfeld 

Lauren Greenfeld is the documentary queen, covering our era like an exacting anthropologist, focusing her lens on the wealthy, the powerful and the priveliged.  An award-winning filmmaker, Greenfield brought us The Queen of Versailles and Generation Wealth and her fascination with people consumed by consuming is not new. 

 In The Kingmaker, she turns her lens on an incredibly complicated character, the Philippines’ most famous first lady, Imelda Marcos.   

Greenfeld told Imelda that no subject would be off limits but Marcos’ stories seem to reinvent history as it stands so Greenfeld worked hard to paint a more balanced picture of the past while hinting at a frightening potential future.  

To those not very familiar with the Marcos regime in the Philippines, you might immediately think of Imelda’s shoe collection (as I did) yet her excessive and lavish lifestyle is really only secondary to her lofty political goals.  

Greenfeld initially became interested in the story after reading an article in The New York Times about how Imelda transported a pack of exotic animals to an island in the Philippines and subsequently kicked off all the residents.   

The story then took on a life of its own.   

The film took over four years to complete as the story grew wilder with each passing day. Imelda’s only son, Bongbong, makes a run for vice president of the country where his father, Ferdinand, served as president for 21 years from 1965-1986 but was better known as a ruthless dictator.   The election puts the Marcos family back in play to take over the political game in the Phillipines.  

The film showcases the reckless use of wealth and power and is a cautionary tale about history and the fragility of democracy: if you don’t remember history, you are condemned to repeat it.   

This disturbing (and amazing) documentary is coming to cinemas in the UK on 13 December. 

I would not miss this movie and if you are not familiar with Greenfeld’s other documentaries go and find them on Netflix ASAP. 

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