The Queen of Versailles is, hands down, the best documentary I’ve seen at the festival. The film comes from Lauren Greenfield, director of Sundance doc Thin, and it chronicles the (controversial words coming) rags-to-riches-to-rags story of David and Jackie Siegel. The Florida couple is famous for building America’s biggest single family residence, a veritable palace based on Versailles. David is one of the world’s biggest time share owners and developers in the world, and the film starts off documenting their wild lifestyle, until it takes a turn in the aftermath of 2008’s market collapse. It’s hilarious and wacky and infuriating and a hell of a watch. Review to come.
On assignment for National Geographic Magazine since the late 1980’s, Gerd Ludwig has covered diverse locations around the globe. His images capture beautifully all the complexities of life. Whether documenting children born with severe birth defects or the sweetness of an embrace, his photography resonates with the full scale of human emotion.
He is best known, however, as the magazine’s front man in the Former Soviet Union. His lecture presentation will focus on the central body of his work, Russia’s warp-speed transformation from communism to runaway capitalism — marked by bold aspirations, poignant suffering, and glittering opportunity. Entitled, “Russia: A Phoenix Rising from the Ashes of a Broken Empire,” his presentation will include his latest photographs of the Chernobyl aftermath taken in early 2011.
The lecture will take place at the Syracuse University Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium within the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on February 2nd at 7pm.
Sponsored by the Canon USA Explorer of Light Lecture Series