The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a multi-billionaire family, that follows their financial challenges from 2007 on, in the wake of the economic downfall. Directed by Lauren Greenfield, who won the U.S. Directing Award for Documentary Film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for this film, the film follows Jackie and David Siegel, who have amassed their wealth from the timeshare industry. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America, a 90,000 sq. ft. palace — dubbed ‘Versailles’ (the largest single-family home in America). Over the next two years, their sprawling empire collapses due to the economic crisis – cutting employees, buildings, and their lifestyle. The film then tracks their struggle in financial turmoil, providing some humorous moments as well as surprisingly depressing and heartfelt.
Once the economic bubble bursts, the one on one interviews with both David and Jackie Siegel take on deeper intimacy — it shifts into an emotional film that sees their marriage go to the brink. Greenfield again captures these emotions perfectly and helps the viewer not only understand the family they are seeing collapse, but actually feel for them. For example, by the end of the film, with most of the household staff laid off, Jackie’s job includes wandering around scraping dog poop off the carpet in room after room.
Greenfield did an excellent job showcasing the Siegel family’s incredible life before the collapse, and then making it hit home with everyone in the audience. Side stories throughout the film provide more background and depth into the characters that make the film that much more personal. Overall, the film is a microcosm of the ‘American Dream’ gone wrong, providing lessons for all of us to learn from.
Kibitzers Rating: 4 out of 5
June has arrived and with Summer just around the corner, so is SilverDocs! Tickets go on sale today for the week-long documentary film festival in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland. Silverdocs runs from June 18 to 24 and you can find the full film lineup here.
Opening this year is the doc Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, which follows the unbelievable journey (see what I did just there) of the band’s new frontman, Arnel Pineda, as he leaves his separate ways (worlds apart) in Manila and becomes part of one of the most popular American rock bands of all time. If all the classic songs aren’t enough, the inspiring rags to riches tale of Pineda should also leave you lovin’, touching’, squeezin’.
Keeping the good tunes going, the festival is closing with another music doc. The Big Easy Express follows the bands Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show as they travel on a six-stop tour from California to New Orleans by railway. This mix of beautiful scenery, jam sessions and concerts looks to surely please the audience and will keep their legs tapping.
Got more time to kill? Check out our top-ten films after the jump!
For one week of the year, downtown Silver Spring feels a little like Hollywood. But instead of glitz, glamor and fiction, there’s emotional, thought-provoking true stories.
The AFI-Discovery Channel Documentary Film Festival announced its full program today for the June 20-26 festival. Full of guest speakers, world premieres and panel discussions, this internationally-recognized film festival brings the best new documentaries to the Washington D.C. area and is the largest doc festival of its kind in the U.S.!
Headlining the festival this year are The Swell Season, Revenge of the Electric Car and The Interrupters. From the serious to the sad, to the comical and just plain fun, SilverDocs celebrates all types of documentaries and is sure to have a film that will strike your interest.
Tickets, showtimes and festival passes are available through SilverDoc’s website, http://silverdocs.com/. They’ve got the full lineup of films as well as the competition slate for the festival’s five awards.
With one of SilverDocs’ awards being the always-popular Audience Award, I’m putting on my critic’s cap and taking you through the docs I’m most excited to see. Keep reading to learn more and watch the trailers! NOW UPDATED TO THE TOP-TEN FILMS!!!
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Have you noticed how it has become a part of American society more and more each year? INVASION!!
Be sure to tweet your links to us on Twitter! And ring in on who you think will be the cameo in the new Iron Man 2!
IT’ F-F-F-F-F-FRRRRRRIDAY! Hope everyone is having a great day – the weather this weekend in DC is supposed to be perfect – for day drinking! UH OH! I’m going to see How to Train Your Dragon tonight, and am actually pretty pumped. I’ll let you know how it is. Enjoy today’s links:
I hope everyone enjoys the weekend. Speaking of which, if you’re going to the movies, check out The Runaways (review here). See everyone back here on Monday morning! GO FOLLOW US ON TWITTER!