The New York Premiere Of “The Queen Of Versailles”


The alcazar of Versailles, one of France’s civic treasures, about bankrupted the French government beneath Louis XIV. At the New York premiere of “The Queen of Versailles” on Tuesday night — Lauren Greenfield’s documentary about time-share titan David Siegel, his ample bays wife Jackie and their own “Versailles” — history acme itself.

“You can now own ‘America’s Versailles’ for $100 actor dollars,” a realtor beams during the documentary, bearing an illustrated announcement of an amateurish 90,000-square-foot single-family home, pronouncing the
French with a adamantine ‘s.’ The film, which won Greenfield a best documentary administrator accolade at the Sundance Blur Festival and an afterwards accusation from David Siegel for defamation, follows the Siegels as they attack to body the better abode in America in Orlando, Fla. They are aggressive both by the Alcazar of Versailles and the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. The brace explains during the blur that they sketched their dream abode on cocktail napkins from a apartment at Siegel’s blighted PH Towers Westgate on the Las Vegas Strip. The consistent architectural appearance ability be declared as “Disney-French.”

“This is a cine about dreams, both alone and collective, and what happens aback activity doesn’t go as planned; what is absent and what is begin forth the way,” Greenfield said, acquainted that she met Jackie Siegel while photographing Donatella Versace for a activity about “wealth and consumerism and the American Dream.”

A photograph Greenfield took of Siegel’s “gold, blingy” Versace purse was appear by Time annual to allegorize what the advertisement alleged “The New Gilded Age” in 2007.

“She told me about architecture the better abode in America and I was hooked,” Greenfield continued. “I had continued been absorbed in this affiliation amid the American dream and home buying and the way that the home had become this announcement of cocky and character and success…they were affectionate of architecture the ultimate dream.”

Greenfield has ahead appear accurate collections about growing up changeable in America with “Girl Culture,” bistro disorders in “Thin” and teenagers in Los Angeles with “Fast Forward.”

About a year into filming, the anatomy is half-finished aback the apartment balloon bursts, abrogation a $100 actor absurdity of gigantic proportions. The Siegels are affected to account the amateurish acreage for $75 million, and the blur closes with the banks circling, as Jackie Siegel puts it, “like vultures about a dying animal.”

“In the end, it wasn’t alike about affluent people, it was an apologue about the ambidexterity of America,” Greenfield acclaimed to an admirers that included Harry and Peter Brant Jr., Nicole Miller and Dennis Basso.

Still, the blur is actual abundant about “rich people.” The Siegels’ somewhat dark attempts to accomplish faculty of activity as no-longer-billionaires see Jackie blithely allurement her youngest accouchement what it acquainted like to fly commercial, or allurement a Hertz adumbrative at the airport what her driver’s name is. David Siegel is mostly depicted barking at his ancestors from his retreat in a dimly lit allowance covered in paperwork, where, he tells the cameras, he intends to “find the money.”

“In the alpha this was a ‘rags-to-riches’ story,” the self-made Siegel tells the cameras, “now it may be a riches-to-rags story.”

Their eight accouchement (including a niece they are raising) ability accept to go to academy now, Jackie notes. There are amplitude auto rides to McDonalds; arcade sprees at Wal-Mart; overextended domiciliary agents (one of whom appropriately lives in the children’s playhouse), and a array of taxidermied lapdogs and oil-painted portraits of the Siegels (as a gladiator and Roman Empress, amid added poses) that had an admirers — including those acclaimed for their aesthetic tastes (Mario Buatta, Muriel Brandolini and Todd Oldham were all built-in aural the above two rows) — airless abashed laughter. Upon the film’s finish, one articulation rang out in the still-dark theater: “Well! I feel like I aloof got hit by a bus.”

Despite the above lawsuit, Jackie Siegel herself was on duke at both the screening and the afterwards affair at the Royalton. She was accompanied by Kathy Hilton, who noted, “It’s a actual affective blur to watch.”

Siegel demurred from speaking to columnist at the party, adage alone that “it was a actual difficult time in our lives.”

Greenfield surveyed the Royalton from a table against the entryway, bouncing agilely at Siegel and Hilton, who airish for photographers. “I accept a lot of amore for Jackie and the family,” the administrator said, “that fabricated me demand to acquaint their adventure in a way that created empathy, and that’s the better acknowledgment that I’ve gotten to this blur — that bodies go in cerebration that they ability never relate, and they appear out cerebration that [the Siegels] are decidedly likeable. I anticipate Jackie and David accept a different affection area their virtues and flaws acquiesce us to see our own.”

And the litigation?

“[David Siegel’s] agitated now, but he wasn’t during the authoritative of the film,” Greenfield stiffened slightly. “He aloof doesn’t like the ending. He capital it to end with him advancing aback triumphantly. And for me it was like, it started on the dream and it ended.”

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