The Kingmaker review – a damning portrait of Imelda Marcos | Film

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“Sometimes it helps that you’re not taken too seriously” is the vain defence of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines and subject of Lauren Greenfield’s latest documentary. An ageing beauty queen and fraudster millionaire, Marcos is an obvious fit for Greenfield and her obsession with the ultra-rich (her previous films include 2012’s The Queen of Versailles and 2018’s Generation Wealth). Most people will be familiar with tales of the Marcos’s extravagant tastes (they were even the subject of a David Byrne and Fatboy Slim 2010 concept album Here Lies Love that became an off-Broadway musical) – and the 1,220 pairs of shoes Imelda left behind when she fled Manila with her husband Ferdinand in the mid 1980s following accusations of fraud and embezzlement.

More than 70 civil and criminal charges have been lodged against the family. Marcos flaunted her wealth while her country’s living standards plummeted, and Greenfield’s portrait is damning. Marcos calls Muammar Gaddafi “a friend”, poses underneath a rare Fragonard painting, brags about acquiring a private zoo of trafficked animals from Africa as though it were covetable haute couture shipped over from Paris. The animals were dumped on an island, with 254 families evicted to make room for them. “I still feel like a teenager at 86,” she says wistfully; she still has the preoccupations of a spoilt brat too.

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Source: The Guardian
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