The Queen of Versailles
A fascinating fly-on-the-wall portrait of time-share mogul David Siegel and and his former beauty queen wife Jackie. The Queen of Versailles
follows the couple as they set about building the largest privately owned home in the States, just as the Global Financial Crisis impacts their business.
Director Lauren Greenfield, winner of the Best Director (Documentary) award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, comments that "in an age of cultural obsession with the rich, chronicled by reality TV, (Keeping Up with the Kardashians
, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
), I wanted to tell a deeper, cinema-verite story of an extraordinarily wealthy family".
The Siegel's swag of children, seven to be exact, along with their live-in domestic help and extended circle of family and friends offer disarmingly candid observations as the family are forced to renegotiate their sense of entitlement. The film also offers an insight into the implied terms of success encapsulated in an ethos that has, for several decades, informed how Americans view themselves.
Despite her Barbie Doll veneer, Jackie proves a thoroughly sympathetic and down-to-earth character. Before she found success as a model and married 'up', she candidly admits that she used to clean corpses in a nursing home for $3.35 an hour. Her husband's ability to rationalise, much less accept, the perceived affront to his role as head of the family and a business empire, is far less certain.
Sneak previews presented in association with BIFFDOCS, the Brisbane International Film Festival documentary competition.
"Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream" - 2012 Sundance Film Festival