A Film By Ramona S. Diaz That Explores The Complex Persona Of Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, Her Rise To Power And Fall From Grace

Few contemporary political figures have been as controversial and outspoken – even misunderstood – as Imelda Marcos, the former Philippine First Lady and subject of filmmaker Ramona Diaz's compelling and provocative new film, IMELDA, which had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and its North American premiere in official documentary competition at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

IMELDA marks the first time that Mrs. Marcos has agreed to tell her story. Diaz and her crew were given unprecedented access to Marcos's life, following her throughout the Philippines. This feature documentary details her controversial rise from humble provincial origins with a combination of guile, ambition and beauty to become one of the richest and most powerful women in contemporary world history.

Universally known by her first name, Imelda is the widow of the late Ferdinand Marcos, exiled president of the Philippines who maintained close ties with the U.S. even as he proclaimed martial law in 1972. Opposition to his regime continued to grow, and after a controversial vote count in his 1986 run against Corazón Aquino, the widow of a slain political rival, Marcos was forced by a popular uprising (People Power Revolution) to leave the Philippines. Sharing power with Marcos throughout was his wife Imelda, whose beauty, cosmopolitan bearing, lavish tastes and notoriety made her more famous, and perhaps even more powerful in the end, than her husband.

The story is told almost entirely by Imelda Marcos in exceptionally rare original interviews in which she is both vivacious as she addresses the camera and intriguing as she expounds upon her personal cosmology. Intercut with her interviews and scenes from her daily life in the Philippines are archival footage from news stories, home movies, interviews with bitter opponents and loyalist friends, and footage of the opulent artifacts that chronicle the years of the Marcos regime.

To this day, Filipinos tend to adulate or despise Imelda with a passion often reserved for once-close friends. Ironically, it is in their hands that the story's as-yet-unknown ending rests. Will Imelda Marcos finally be convicted of charges that range from graft to human rights abuses? And if she is, will a verdict against her restore a natural order to the Philippines, or merely add martyrdom to the weight of her symbolic claim?