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Grey Gardens (BFI Film Classic) Grey Gardens (BFI Film Classic)

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by Matthew Tinkcom by Matthew Tinkcom
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The Maysles brothers' Grey Gardens (1975) is one of the most important documentary films of the past thirty years. In the past decade the film has gained the status of cult classic, inspiring both a Broadway musical and a 2009 HBO feature film.

In this first single volume study of the film, Matthew Tinkcom argues that Grey Gardens reshaped documentary cinema by moving the non-fiction camera to the heart of the household, a private space into which film-makers had seldom previously ventured. 

By the time the film-makers appeared on their front porch, the film's two central figures, 'Big Edie' Beale and her daughter 'Little Edie', had been living for two decades in near-poverty in their beach-side East Hampton mansion (the 'Grey Gardens' of the title). Close relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by the early 1970s the Beales had lost much of their personal wealth and their everyday lives had descended into a state of barely-controlled squalor.

Tinkcom argues that the film is one of the first to combine documentary with the conventions of fiction film melodrama, and that the film's appeal arrives in the rich melodramatic dimensions of the Beales' everyday lives in which they argue, dress up, flirt, laugh, sing, dance and reminisce about their experiences in New York's social elite in the first half of the twentieth century.

 

 

The Maysles brothers' Grey Gardens (1975) is one of the most important documentary films of the past thirty years. In the past decade the film has gained the status of cult classic, inspiring both a Broadway musical and a 2009 HBO feature film.

In this first single volume study of the film, Matthew Tinkcom argues that Grey Gardens reshaped documentary cinema by moving the non-fiction camera to the heart of the household, a private space into which film-makers had seldom previously ventured. 

By the time the film-makers appeared on their front porch, the film's two central figures, 'Big Edie' Beale and her daughter 'Little Edie', had been living for two decades in near-poverty in their beach-side East Hampton mansion (the 'Grey Gardens' of the title). Close relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by the early 1970s the Beales had lost much of their personal wealth and their everyday lives had descended into a state of barely-controlled squalor.

Tinkcom argues that the film is one of the first to combine documentary with the conventions of fiction film melodrama, and that the film's appeal arrives in the rich melodramatic dimensions of the Beales' everyday lives in which they argue, dress up, flirt, laugh, sing, dance and reminisce about their experiences in New York's social elite in the first half of the twentieth century.

 

 

Additional Info

Additional Info

SKU 9781844573950
Author(s) Matthew Tinkcom
Subtitle BFI Film Classic
Publisher(s) BFI Palgrave
Format Paperback
Original publication date 2011
Number of pages 128

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