by rantywoman

IN 2007 Lauren Greenfield, a photographer and film-maker, found the perfect subject for a documentary. David Siegel, a self-made billionaire in his 70s, together with his trophy wife Jackie, a former model more than 30 years his junior, were in the process of building the largest private residence in America: a 90,000 square-foot (8,400 square-metre) monstrosity in Orlando, Florida. Modelled on the palace of Versailles, it would feature 30 bathrooms, ten kitchens and an ice rink, among other luxuries. This was the American dream writ large and ridiculous, with protagonists who were deliciously ripe for satire…

Without staff, the Siegel household descends into chaos. Pets die, dog excrement litters the kitchen floor, and David recedes into his office, emerging only to grumble about the electric bill. “Do you get strength from your marriage?” Ms Greenfield asks. “No,” he snorts with characteristic dismissiveness. “It’s like having another child.”