Imelda is a documentary film directed by Ramona S. Diaz about the life of former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos. It was first released in 2003 at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. It was also shown during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Excellence in Cinematography Award.
The documentary is about the life of Mrs. Marcos, beginning from her childhood, her meeting and marriage to the former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, her life during the Martial Law, their exile to Hawaii, and her eventual return to the Philippines. The documentary includes actual interviews from Mrs. Marcos herself where she is allowed to tell her story herself. Hence, the documentary can be seen as a retelling of the history of the Philippines in the perspective of Imelda Marcos.
Perhaps the most prominent part of the film is Mrs. Marcos’ constant emphasis on the importance of “beauty”. Here, she stated that all her outfits, shoes and jewelry were for the sake of providing the people a “role model”. Even after an attempted assassination on her where she got a number slashes from a knife she wondered “why such an ugly instrument” were used on her.
It is easy for viewers of the film to see Mrs. Marcos as truly ignorant to the actual state and suffering of the people. With all the wealth and power she held, she became viewed as an arrogant elitist from the higher class. Amusingly, Mrs. Marcos herself might have realized this for she opposed the public showing this film in the Philippines. Perhaps she herself have seen what her true image had been.
Overall, the documentary Imelda was an excellent take on the showing the life of Imelda Marcos. It was a balanced view of Mrs. Marcos, comparing to past media depictions of her during martial law. The documentary had truly shown what Imelda Marcos is as a person.