The fruition of a 25-year documentary inquiry into what has been called “the influence of affluence”, a searing exploration of the aspiration for wealth.
Lauren Greenfield’s postcard from the edge of the American Empire captures a portrait of a materialistic, image-obsessed culture. Simultaneously personal journey and historical essay, the film bears witness to the global boom–bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, and the human costs of late stage capitalism, narcissism, and greed.
Over the past 25 years, Lauren Greenfield's documentary photography and film projects have explored youth culture, gender, body image, and affluence. In this fascinating meld of career retrospective and film essay, Greenfield offers a meditation on her extensive body of work, structuring it through the lens of materialism and its increasing sway on culture and society in America and throughout the world. From her earliest photo studies on the seemingly privileged lives of Los Angeles high school students, through her look at the pitfalls of extreme wealth in The Queen of Versailles (U.S. Documentary Directing Award, 2012 Sundance Film Festival), to more recent images of conspicuous consumption in Russia and China, Greenfield's work becomes a cautionary morality tale about our unquenchable desire for more.