Tuesday, November 14, 2006
My NYC homie came to L.A. to visit this weekend and brought with her an unusual cinematic offering: the documentary Grey Gardens. The film offers a glimpse into the lives of an aunt and cousin, Big Edie and Little Edie respectively, of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The two women lived in seclusion in the East Hamptoms for over 20 years, seemingly forgotten by society and left to slowly break down inside their broken-down mansion.
In the mid 1970s, the Mayles brothers shot the film with handheld cameras and lightweight sound equipment, breaking ground for a new kind of filmmaking. Before the movie was made, the women made headlines when they were almost evicted from their home for its filth and disorder, but they were able to clean up their act. Still, cats and raccoons wander the house throughout the film as the two women reminisce, sing and bicker with charmingly sophisticated vocabularies, as these memorable quotes reveal.
Little Edie, 56 at the time of the film, seems to suffer from some kind of mental illness, but is able to find pleasure in creating eclectic fashion ensembles and dancing about her shabby suites.
Disturbing at times, the film is a fascinating look at the lives of two dysfunctional women who find themselves left to slowly fade away with only their warm memories and canned pate to comfort them.