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Variety Magazine's 15 Best Movies of the Fall Film Festivals

The Kingmaker (Venice, Telluride, Toronto)

Child beauty pageant contestants, plastic surgery debacles, gold-plated toilets in blinged-out bathrooms. As a photographer, Lauren Greenfield has changed the way we look at status and excess in the modern world, although her filmmaking career (“Generation Wealth,” “The Queen of Versailles”) has always lagged a step behind, complementing more than it augments her day job. Until now. With “The Kingmaker,” Greenfield set out to capture the opulent life of Philippine icon and self-style matriarch Imelda Marcos, underwritten by late husband Ferdinand’s failed dictatorship. In the process, she stumbled upon a story about an island where Imelda had forced out the locals in order to create an elaborate nature preserve, now in shambles. But over the several years it took to assemble and edit the documentary, the project took on astonishing power, using the corruption observed abroad to offer a chilling commentary on how “ill-gotten gains” jeopardize our own system as well. — PD

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