Friday, November 7, 2008

For the Maysles, with Love & Squalor

Probably mostly squalor.

Although they make documentary films instead of photographs, David and Albert Maysles are so very quick on their feet in making incredibly beautiful images, and that is more than good enough for me.

Something that's interesting from a photographic perspective is the way they deal with the exploitative relationship between artist and subject (an issue that openly, naturally arises as a major motif in their work). It is so tender and heartbreaking and itchy and scratchy all at once.

"Grey Gardens" is a documentary about Edie and Edith Bouvier Beale, an incredible mother-daughter duo. The once-wealthy, once-respected, once-in-possession-of eyebrows-that aren't-drawn-on-with-a-smudgy-pencil, forever fabulous relatives of Jackie O, they spend much of the film yelling at their impressive assemblage of half-feral cats and chewing on particularly gristly morsels of their past lives as debutantes and chanteuses.

Here are a few scenes:
Edie discusses her favorite costume for the day.
Edie dances for the camera. So totally strange and so totally beautiful.
The David and Al she's referring to towards the end of this video are, of course, the Maysles brothers, who are in the process of filming her.
Edie discusses her life as a staunch character. I'm not sure what exactly she means by "staunch", but I do know that anyone one who has the chutzpah to take a washcloth, slap an antique Tiffany brooch on it, put the whole thing on their head and call it a day should probably run for president.

No comments: