} Crítica Retrô: Grey Gardens (1975)

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Grey Gardens (1975)

 

Se você, como eu, é uma pessoa sensata, você provavelmente passou a maior parte dos últimos 10 meses dentro de casa - desde que a pandemia de COVID-19 se tornou emergência global em março de 2020. Você, como eu, provavelmente viveu maus momentos e achou que não agüentava mais o lugar, a companhia ou a situação. Mas com certeza tudo poderia ser pior. Imagine que você tivesse que passar a quarentena na casa onde foi gravado o documentário cult “Grey Gardens”, de 1975, junto com a dupla de mãe e filha Edith ‘Big Edie’ Bouvier Beale e Little Edie. Você pode ter brigado com sua família, parceiro ou colega de quarto durante a quarentena - mas pelo menos a briga não foi filmada, como as brigas destas duas!

If you are a sensible person like me, you probably have spent most of the last 10 months inside your house – you know, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally in March, 2020. You, like me, probably had bad moments, where you couldn't stand any more of the place, the companion or the situation. But it could have been worse, for sure. Just imagine you had to quarantine in the house featured in the 1975 cult documentary “Grey Gardens”, alongside the trippy mother-and-daughter duo, Edith ‘Big Edie’ Bouvier Beale and Little Edie. You may have fought with your family, partner or roommate during quarantine - but at least it wasn’t caught on camera like the quarrels between these two!

Big Edie, com sua bengala e óculos de lentes grossas, e Little Edie, e Little Edie, com sapatos brancos de saltinho e turbante. A mãe idosa e a filha “solteirona”, tia e prima de Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, foram as protagonistas de várias matérias de jornal quando a casa delas, construída em 1897, se tornou um campo de batalha sanitário.

Big Edie, with her cane and her thick glasses, and Little Edie, with her white mid-heeled shoes and headscarf. The elderly mother and the “spinster” daughter, aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, were the subjects of several newspaper stories as their house, the Grey Gardens Estate, built in 1897, became a sanitary battlefield.

Edith e a filha viviam em Grey Gardens desde 1952, longe da alta sociedade e reclusas numa casa cheia de lixo. Em 1972, uma ordem de despejo foi emitida porque a casa não era considerada habitável. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis e a irmã, a socialite Lee Radziwill, deram dinheiro para consertar a casa e torná-la “habitável”. Como o caso foi muito divulgado, Lee Radziwill contratou uma dupla de documentaristas - Albert e David Maysles - para filmar a propriedade para um documentário sobre a infância da irmã Jacqueline. Os dois documentaristas preferiram focar na mãe e filha excêntricas.

Edith and her daughter had been living in Grey Gardens since 1952, withdrawn from high society and reclusive in the clutter-packed house. In 1972, an eviction order was issued because the house was not considered safe to inhabit. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her sister, socialite Lee Radziwill, donated money to restore the house and make it habitable. As the case was widely publicized, Radziwill hired a duo of documentarians - Albert and David Maysles - to film the estate for a documentary about the childhood of sister Jacqueline. The two documentarians preferred to focus on the eccentric mother and daughter instead. 

A propriedade Grey Gardens é como uma personagem. Cheia de gatos, guaxinins e até mesmo pulgas, a mansão de 14 cômodos parece mais sufocante do que libertadora, pois as memórias evocadas pelos objetos fazem as duas mulheres - principalmente Big Edie - viverem mais no passado que no presente. Little Edie inclusive diz que “é muito difícil traçar uma linha entre o passado e o presente”. No mais, a casa parece uma precursora dos reality shows sobre acumuladores de lixo.

The Grey Gardens house is a character in itself. Full of cats, raccoons and even fleas, the 14-room mansion seems more oppressing than freeing, as the memories brought back by the objects make the two women - especially Big Edie - live in the past more than in the present. Little Edie herself says that “it’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present”. Moreover, the house seems to be a precursor to those reality shows about obsessive hoarders.

Documentários são ótimos por uma série de razões. Uma delas é que nós aprendemos como outras pessoas vivem e pensam. Enquanto assiste a “Grey Gardens”, você pode simpatizar com Big Edie e Little Edie, ou pode se alegrar porque você não é como elas. Você pode até pensar que o documentário é uma cruel exploração de duas mulheres com problemas mentais. Mãe e filha brigam muito, e a filha conta aos cineastas, sem sentir vergonha, que a mãe arruinou a vida dela. Mas, mesmo que Little Edie esteja infeliz em Grey Gardens e Big Edie não reconheça o talento artístico da filha, podemos sentir que elas se importam uma com a outra. A relação delas, com altos e baixos, é completamente verdadeira - e nem todos os documentários são capazes de capturar este tipo de verdade.

Documentaries are great for a series of reasons. One of them is that we learn how other people live and think. While watching “Grey Gardens”, you may empathize with Big Edie and Little Edie, or you may become thankful because you are not like them. You can even think that the documentary cruelly exploits two women with mental illness. Mother and daughter quarrel a lot, with the daughter telling the filmmakers, without shame, about how her mother has ruined her life. But, even if Little Edie isn’t completely happy at Grey Gardens and Big Edie does not see her daughter’s artistic talent, we can feel that they care for each other. Their relationship, with highs and lows, is completely true - and not all documentaries are able to capture this kind of truth. 

Em 2009 um filme de ficção sobre Big Edie e Little Edie foi feito, com o título “Grey Gardens: Do Luxo à Decadência”, estrelando Jessica Lange como a mãe e Drew Barrymore como a filha. O filme narra as vidas de mãe e filha de meados dos anos 1930 até a estreia do documentário. Barrymore e Lange estão muito bem, imitando os gestos e o tom de voz das duas mulheres que retratam.

In 2009 a fictional TV movie was made about Big Edie and Little Edie, also titled “Grey Gardens” and starring Jessica Lange as the mother and Drew Barrymore as the daughter. The movie tells the lives of mother and daughter from the mid-1930s until the premiere of the documentary. Both Barrymore and Lange are very good, mimicking the mannerisms and the voice tone of the original subjects.

Muitas pessoas já se perguntaram por que “Grey Gardens” se tornou um documentário cult. Pode ter sido porque parte do público se surpreendeu com Big Edie e Little Edie, e esses espectadores ficaram felizes porque não eram tão excêntricos quanto as duas mulheres. Parte do público - e talvez haja mais gente nesta parte do que na outra - pode ter se identificado com as duas. Longe de serem perfeitas, às vezes um pouco trágicas, mas firmes e vivendo de acordo com suas próprias regras, Big Edie e Little Edie são personalidades fortes, assim como eu e você.

Many people have wondered why “Grey Gardens” became a cult documentary. It may have been because part of the public was mesmerized by Big Edie and Little Edie, and happy they were not as eccentric as the two women. Part of the public - and maybe this part is bigger than the other - may have felt identification with the two. Far from perfect, sometimes a little tragic, but resolute and living according to their own rules, Big Edie and Little Edie are staunch characters, just like you and me.

This is my contribution to the Home Sweet Home blogathon, hosted by Rebecca and Gill at Taking Up Room and Realweegiemidget Reviews.

6 comments:

Realweegiemidget Reviews said...

Thanks for bringing this interesting documentary to the blogathn. Adding it to my list to to watch and review list, hope all good where you are and thanks for joining

John L. Harmon said...

Good review 👍
Grey gardens is one of those documentaries that I just can't bring myself to watch.

angelman66 said...

Le, fabulous article on one of my favorite films! You are so right, quarantining with the Edies and their raccoons and cats would be intense and stressful indeed! But never boring! I have seen this one at least a hundred times and it is on my list to write about. Do also see the Maysles Brothers follow up The Beales of Grey Gardens and the more recent Lee Radziwill/Peter Beard “prequel” called That Summer which I believe was released in 2019–if you haven’t already. As always, I always love your writing and your blog!!
- Chris

Silver Screenings said...

I liked what you said about this documentary capturing the truth about the mother-daughter relationship. They quarrel, yes, but they deeply care for each other.

Rebecca Deniston said...

I'm tempted to watch this movie even though the hoarding thing is kind of hard to get around. At least they weren't as bad as the Collyer brothers. What's really amazing is the house is still around and it looks terrific: https://www.vogue.com/article/inside-grey-gardens-house Thanks again for joining the blogathon--this review is great!

MovieCritic said...

You are right with what you said at the beginning, I'm now even more happy that I live where I do with my family. I've never heard about this and your review was very informative!

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