When The Kingmaker director Lauren Greenfield began making what would become her latest film, she intended to investigate what had become of the island in the Philippines, Calauit, that had become a reserve for endangered African animals in the mid-1970s.
She thought that the country’s former first lady, Imelda Marcos, would be just one interview of many in her investigation of the island. But Greenfield found an eager and compelling subject ready to share her life story — or at least her version of it.
The Kingmaker examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. The film explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice-presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country.
In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale.