Can anyone think of Imelda Marcos and not fixate on her formidable shoe collection (between 1,200 and 3,600 pairs)? This potentially risible subject becomes the perfect subject for one of the most engaging, entertaining and outrageous documentaries of recent memory — all done with the participation of Imelda Marcos herself. While the film (2003) is hardly a valentine to the widow of Fillipino president and later dictator Ferdinand Marcos, neither is it a simple attack on her.
The woman is so clearly divorced from reality that she seems less evil — though she certainly contributed to and even likely committed great evil — than utterly deluded. One has only to try (and try is all you can do) to follow her seven steps (which turn out to be 10, near as I can tell) to understanding the cosmos (the answer appears to have something to do with Apple computers) to see that Imelda is not just in a league of her own, but in a universe of her own.
Documentarian Ramona S. Diaz presents the former first lady as a kind of glamorous star who is “on” no matter what the occasion, giving a kind of grudging respect to the woman simply for her sheer presence and her ability to work that presence. A one-of-a-kind documentary on a one-of-a-kind woman.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke