The acclaimed Sundance documentary THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (which won the Audience Award at the event last January) is a cautionary tale of hubris and what happens when the insulated world of the superrich comes crashing down. In the film by Lauren Greenfield which is screening this week at Silverdocs, a ridiculously wealthy Florida couple (75 year old real estate magnate David Siegel and his overly buxom trophy wife Jacqueline) are determined to build the world’s largest home…..a 90,000 square foot behemoth modeled on the Palace of Versailles. When the global economic meltdown hits, the family is forced to confront the meaning of a new word: downsizing…..as alien to them as alien can be. The need to cut back on ostentatious shows of wealth and unencumbered spending provides a cautionary tale of how extended we have all become with the easy availability of unlimited credit and the vast conspiracy of consumerism. For the Siegels, the price they pay is writ large, but the implications are there for all of us to learn. The film will be released in theaters this summer, providing yet another perspective of how far we have fallen and the values we have deep frozen in our pursuit of pleasure at all cost.
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