Lauren Greenfield’s newest documentary traces the Marcos family’s revision of the Martial Law narrative

  • Among many other things, "The Kingmaker" shows Imelda Marcos defending her family's version of events

At the Venice Film Festival, American filmmaker Lauren Greenfield premiered her latest documentary: one that followed Imelda Marcos’ story “as a powerful female leader who left an indelible mark on history and divided a nation” through interviews and archival footage.

“The Kingmaker” highlights the Marcoses’ political comeback through Imelda Marcos’ efforts to help Bongbong Marcos with his bid for vice presidency in 2016; foregrounded by an exploration of their long history of corruption and brutality.

Above all else, the film explores Imelda Marcos’ attempts to rewrite and defend her family’s version of the Martial Law era. In an interview for the documentary, Imelda claimed that the country has gone downhill since Ferdinand Marcos’ presidency: “Before, during my time, there were no beggars.”

Interviews with her political detractors, however, shaped the reality of the Marcos regime: people cited the numerous cases of human rights violations, and the family still stands accused of stealing $10 billion from the country. Imelda herself was found guilty of seven counts of graft last November.

A review by Variety adds that the documentary “finds a desperate country naive enough to believe the false narrative the Marcoses are selling—or buying, as the case seems to be”; and it’s definitely the reality here. In elementary schools, the Martial Law era is either glossed over or presented as an era that greatly benefited the country.

“The Kingmaker” is set for a commercial release later this year, premiering on American television network Showtime in 2020. Currently, there are no plans to distribute the film in the Philippines.

Update (Sept. 21, 2021): “The Kingmaker” can be streamed on Vimeo On Demand

Update: In a tweet dated March 11, 2022, Greenfield announced that in partnership with ABS-CBN and iWantTFC, “The Kingmaker” is now available to be streamed for free in the Philippines.


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