Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is one of my favorite films. The documentary profiles Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier Beale, the aunt of Jackie O, and her daughter, "Little Edie." Grey Gardens is their Hamptons estate situated among the most elite properties. Their story in incredible. In the 70s the health department raided the property citing multiple violations and threatening eviction. Jackie O contributed enough to get the property in good enough shape to allow the two women to stay, but the scandal prompted this documentary, and by the looks of it, the property quickly reverted to its former condition.  They have sold off their Tiffany pieces for money and cats and wild animals infest the house. "Big Edie" is almost always surrounded with garbage, piled around her in bed. They have almost no exposure to the outside world and even as the walls crumble around them they seem to have little awareness that anything is wrong. 

"Little Edie" is around 50 at the time of the movie and yet she seems to be a child. She laments proposals she turned down, at the insistence of her mother who wanted to keep her around, and talks of wanting to 'redecorate' despite the fact they are surrounded by garbage and filth.   "Big Edie" relishes the smell of the cat urine that soaks the house. 

The film as a grotesque yet timeless quality that intrigues you to investigate further. Their bizarre relationship, isolation from the rest of the world, and inability to see reality makes this character study one that will always catch my attention. 

The video below is 9 mins long, but shows some of the parts of the film. 

1 comment:

Antoine said...

after seeing your youtube films I realize how mysterious gardens can be. my friend kate has a spot about them...( i'll tell her to consider this element. thanks!