Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Imelda 2003

Directed by Ramona S. Diaz

USA In English and Tagalog with English subtitles
103 minutes Beta-SP / Colour and B&W



Ferne Pearlstein


Leah Marino


Grace Non
Bob Aves


Amsterdam Documentary 2003; Sundance, Sydney 2004


Is she totally deluded, extremely canny or both? Fatally attracted to the camera by her own loveliness, Imelda Marcos preens for filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz. Successfully applying the ‘enough rope’ principle, Diaz gives free rein to Imelda’s ‘charm’, her incomprehensible theories about love and the meaning of life, her sanitised versions of history – ‘there were no skeletons in my closet, only shoes’ – and her titanic vanity. Her extravagance, you must understand, brought pride and meaning to the life of her lowliest subjects. Other witnesses provide less complimentary accounts of Imelda’s progress from beauty queen, through marriage to president-to-be Ferdinand Marcos, 11 days after meeting him, to her 20-year reign as his consort and cohort. Obsessed with constructing grandiose structures (‘her edifice complex’), she amassed jewels, dresses and her now-infamous 3,000 pairs of shoes – while much of the nation lived in dire poverty and more than 17,000 political prisoners languished in jails. Scariest of all, Diaz brings us up to date with a beaming, gracious Imelda on the comeback trail. — BG