Sunday, August 5, 2007

grey gardens

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i finally saw the maysles brothers' grey gardens, which is one of the creepiest films i've seen in a really long time. i'm trying to figure out what its about. i understand the incentive in making the film, which was the early 70s scandal regarding the estate's destitution. the house was falling apart, there were diseased cats roaming everywhere, and suffolk county was ready to tear down the house. however, jackie o (the beales' first cousin), put up the money to have the house repaired.

anyway, i watched the entire film, in which nothing happens except a ton of funny conversation between the two eccentric beales, edith bouvier beale and her daughter "little edie", still little at 52. however, i don't know what came out of it. to me, it seems like a portrait of two eccentrics, almost in the same way that a photographer does a portrait sitting, except with a moving camera. i spoke with someone about the film who says that he thought it was about getting old. i think that reading is valid, however, i think the situation of these two women is unique and is not really representative of aging. these are unmarried, unoccupied women, who spend their lives singing, dancing, and eating in a filthy house with cats shitting in every corner. i'm honestly still perplexed by the film, but i liked it. its beautiful to watch and its essentially very sad--its a portrait of loneliness, if anything, of these two women bound together by interminable loneliness.

There is a ton of material about the film and the beales online, like the criterion collection essay, "notes on grey gardens" by hilton als. there is also a wild article from new york magazine by gail sheehy recalling an encounter with little edie.

now, the grey gardens musical. i gotta see it.

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