Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield's last documentary, 2012's exceptional curdling of the American dream, The Queen of Versailles, focused on a single family as they set out to build the biggest home in America, only to be hit by the recession. Greenfield's new doc, Generation Wealth (opening in theaters July 20), expands on those themes, widening its scope to look at a societal hunger for fame and fortune and infamy through former porn stars and VIP hostesses, housewives of the Russian oligarchy and child beauty queens, many of whom are glimpsed in this exclusive clip.
"Success becomes its own perpetual vehicle. You're part of this game where the more the better," the film's disgraced hedge funder, Florian Homm, explains, gesticulating with a lit cigar. "A billion is better than a hundred million. I was a hamster in a diamond-studded, gold wheel."
Ironically, his estranged son's girlfriend later echoes that same sentiment, though as a cautionary tale: "There is this place that is too far and everyone ends up there," Mikayla says. "When money is success, it's impossible to not want to keep going. Why wouldn't you? Because if a lot is good, more is better."
Watch the trailer for Generation Wealth:
Here is the documentary's official synopsis:
"For the past 25 years acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield has travelled the world, documenting with ethnographic precision and an artist’s sensitivity a vast range of cultural movements and moments. Yet, after so much seeking and searching, she realized that much of her work pointed at one uniting phenomenon: wealth culture. With her new film, GENERATION WEALTH, she puts the pieces of her life's work together for in an incendiary investigation into the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen. Spanning consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more, Greenfield has created a comprehensive cautionary tale about a culture heading straight for the cliff's edge. GENERATION WEALTH, simultaneously a deeply personal journey, rigorous historical essay, and raucously entertaining expose, bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream and the human costs of capitalism, narcissism and greed."