THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES
(Lauren Greenfield, USA, Netherlands, UK, Denmark). 100 minutes. Rating: Lauren Greenfield’s brilliant doc begins as a look at conspicuous consumption, then evolves into something that plays with our sympathies.
Jackie Siegel is a buxom 40-something former beauty queen who’s raising seven children with her septuagenarian husband, David Siegel, owner of a multi- million- dollar time-share business. When we first meet them, they’re constructing a 90,000-square-foot estate modelled on Versailles. Then the economic crisis hits and their empire and home life begin to crumble.
Filming over three years, Greenfield captures remarkable moments – everything from manipulative real estate pitch sessions to shopping sprees and talks with the Siegels’ overworked employees. She’s got a great eye for the telling detail.
Jackie is the most compelling character, bust- revealing outfits and all: smart, generous and totally in love with a man who once joked that when she turned 40 he’d replace her with two 20-yearolds. May 2, 7 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; May 3, 9:15 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre; May 4, 8: 45 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. You don’t have to be the type who keeps an Atari in a trophy case to be enthralled by Indie Game: The Movie. The intelligent, thoroughly absorbing doc is a delight for both the avid gamer and those not so up to speed with Nintendo-speak.
A handful of independent video game designers and programmers bring us into the hermit caves where games are conceived and walk us through the mounting anxieties and gruelling anticipation that come with delivering product. All the while, the filmmakers and their subjects mount a legitimate case for video games as a new art form, with certain developers taking on the airs of the next generation’s Jean- Luc Godard.
If video games are our New Wave, this doc is its Cahiers du Cinéma. May 3, 9 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, and simultaneously across Canada in select Cineplex movie theatres.