Lauren Greenfield’s latest documentary, “The Kingmaker.” offers a portrait of the former first lady of the Philippines, a look into the crimes of Imelda Marcos’ family’s fascist rule, and their present-day comeback. The film’s official trailer, released Monday, shows how the family’s story is applicable in across the globe today — as Marcos says, “perception is real and the truth is not.” The trailer also shows off scenes of Marcos in opulent surroundings — against a backdrop of thousands of pairs of shoes and Picasso and Michelangelo paintings — intercut with scenes of her handing out cash and news clips about the Philippines’ 1986 People Power Revolution, which unseated her kleptocrat husband, Ferdinand Marcos, and forced the family into exile (smuggling diamonds in diapers along the way).
The family returned to prominence after their son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, then a senator, ran a strong campaign for vice president. He didn’t win, but Marcos family friend Rodrigo Duterte’s successful bid for the presidency marked a resurrection of the Marcos’ regime’s mentality with his poison rhetoric and policies.
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In his recent review of the film, IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn said “The Kingmaker” is a natural outgrowth of Greenfield’s “Queen of Versailles,” which told the story of a Florida family’s troubles reaching their goal of building one of the largest private homes in the US as the financial crisis loomed. The stakes in “The Kingmaker” are much higher, Kohn wrote, but both deal with the “faded opulence of a wealthy family lingering in the shadow of their former glory.”
The film premieired at the Venice International Film Festival. It was nominated for a Grierson Award at the London Film Festival, the same documentary prize Greenfield won for her 2006 HBO eating disorder feature “Thin.” “The Kingmaker” was also nominated for the Checkpoints Award, a prize focused on human rights at the Bergen International Film Festival.
Recently, it was also named to the DOC NYC Short List. And, IndieWire’s Anne Thompson has named the film a frontrunner for the best documentary Oscar.
Showtime Documentary Films and Greenwich Entertainment will give the film a two-city release November 8, when it will open at The Quad in New York City and Laemmle Royal Theater in Los Angeles. Check out the film’s first trailer below.