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Thursday 18 April 2013

“The Queen of Versailles” DVD review + reader giveaway - sponsored post

Right from the get-go, this oddly engaging documentary had me hooked.

I was disturbed, moved, a little disgusted, surprisingly connected to and yet simultaneously disenchanted by the whole sorry catastrophe. And yet, I cannot stop recommending it; I want everyone I know to see it.

The documentary film is titled ‘The Queen of Versailles’, a 2012 American-made mini masterpiece by Lauren Greenfield; a confronting reflection of our modern times of failed business ventures, shattered dreams, over-financing and over-extending. Where marriages are on the brink, children suffer greatly, and living beyond your means takes on a whole new meaning. [Here is the DVD cover]:

The doco centres around David Siegel and his wife Jackie [and their eight kids], owners of Westgate Resorts, one of the largest time-share corporations in the US… who are also building the largest [larger than the White House! It’s a 90,000 square foot palace, based on Versailles in France] and most expensive single-family home in the USA. Meanwhile, they face financial crisis of gargantuan proportions, as the US economy rapidly declines, taking the over-extenders down with them.

The documentary won the US Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival, a Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, and the Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival. ‘The Queen of Versailles’ was also nominated for Best Documentary Film, 2012, by the International Documentary Association.

Watching the curious world of the Siegels is like watching a crazy mash-up of the moneyed-up vulgarity you’ll witness on any of the ‘Real Housewives’ franchise spin-offs, but the irony in so many scenes is not lost: Papa Siegel losing his mind over wasting electricity in their current home, while a cool 30 mil plus is required to help hoist them out of the crazy-deep debt they are in, for example.

“They were giving me cheap money and I was using it,” he states plainly.

At the conclusion of the doco, David says: “We need to live within our means. Don’t spend money that we don’t have. Don’t spend money that we think we’re going to eventually have. Spend what we do have. You know, get back to reality.” Amen to that.

Josie’s Juice has 20 copies of the DVD to give away. And I would urge you to enter to watch one of the most accurate portrayals of greed-gone-mad of our time.

Watch the trailer below:

‘The Queen of Versailles’ is available on DVD (RRP $24.95) and digital download from 17 April 2013.

All you need to do to enter the comp to win a copy of the DVD is:

- Click ‘like’ on the Josie’s Juice Facebook page
- Share this link on your Facebook wall
- Tell me in as few or as many words as you like why winning this DVD appeals to you
- Email me at josiegags@optusnet.com.au so I have your details on hand in the event you’re a winner

“This is kind of like a reverse of a ‘rags to riches’ story. This is almost like a ‘riches to rags’ story,” says David, with a laugh. Except it’s no laughing matter. And he and his family know it. What will happen to their beloved palace-in-progress? Will they learn huge life lessons along the way? Watch the must-see DVD to see what happens next.

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