The Kingmaker: What Is It Really Telling Us?

The Kingmaker: What Is It Really Telling Us?

The Kingmaker is coming to us



In May 2020, The Kingmaker premiered at CCP theater. It was only for a few days and, had it not been for social media, I wouldn’t have even known it was showing on our shores. I had heard about the film, of course, but I had resigned myself to the idea that I wouldn’t be able to see it (at least, not legally). 


After finding out, I asked a friend of mine: How ironic is it that they’re screening in CCP?



The documentary scores a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a critic consensus that reads “The Kingmaker aims a disquieting spotlight at the private life of a divisive public figure—as well as the ways in which unchecked power seduces and corrupts.”


Now, Imelda Marcos is a woman that needs no introduction. Her name and her image pop up easily with a simple group of words, like “the first lady” and “3000 pairs of shoes.” Yet, despite her years in the public eye, despite the scrutiny into her life and the number of students that have studied her name in history books, she is—to be frank—still an elusive figure. Strange, isn’t it?

Her elusiveness is not due to a lack of information but in the knowledge that there is still so much more to know and consider and try to understand. Not to mention that there are literally millions of opinions on her to try and see through. After all, that’s why a documentary that took us into her home was such a hit. 


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The documentary gives a look into Imelda’s main circle: Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, and even Rodrigo Duterte. We see the former first lady prepare for her interviews in all her grandeur of makeup, hair and full ensemble. She is filmed giving money to children on the streets, speaking to the camera with a clearly expensive piece of art hanging on her walls. There are old snippets of her dancing with the world’s leaders, charming them with her intelligence and beauty. It is lavishness that has become synonymous with her and her family name.



And then we are introduced to the belief of some of our countrymen as spoken by school-aged children: the Marcoses did well for the country, they are helping, they deserve a second chance, Martial Law is not the evil the numbers are telling us. On the other side of the coin, we see Martial Law victims give their own opinion on the matter, too.

Do I have an opinion? Does my late 20-year-old self have things to say? Do I think the frivolity is a little too much and their lifestyle a little too controversial to be made so public? Yes. But when it comes to the documentary, I will keep my mouth shut. Come back to me when you stream The Kingmaker on iWant. Then we’ll talk—and objectively, please. But for now, if you can't wait, here's a little message from director Lauren Greenfield: 



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The Kingmaker is joined by Wreck Hunters and Matteo Guidicelli’s Ranger G on iWant. Stay tuned for more updates.



Art Alexandra Lara

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