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Grey Gardens/The Beales of Grey Gardens: Criterion Collection

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1975/2006

Creepy and disquietingly funny, "Grey Gardens," David and Albert Maysles' crack'd-mirror biography of the Beales "? Big Edie and Little Edie "? anticipates the bare-all aesthetic of modern-day reality TV, but does so with a grace and respect that "The Real World" wouldn't dare attempt.
 
A film custom-built for cult status (indeed, everyone from Rufus Wainwright to Drew Barrymore has embraced this glimpse of patently weird Americana), "Grey Gardens" hasn't aged so much as moldered; the documentarian brothers achieve an intimacy that simultaneously freaks you out and commands your attention.
 
Previously released by the Criterion Collection, "Grey Gardens" is repackaged with this year's continuation, "The Beales of Grey Gardens," a work stitched together from the first film's undoubtedly copious outtakes. It's not as pungent as "Grey Gardens," but for fans of the Beales, it's a must-see. Recommended.

"?Preston Jones

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