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Salesman and Grey Gardens: getting the films shown


Walter Goodman's reaction to Grey Gardens
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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But when Walter Goodman saw the film he saw two eccentrics- he saw a film where you really got to know just about everything about this strange relationship- this mother / daughter relationship- to the point where he felt that, without saying so specifically because by saying so he would offend the two women and he was trying to say how offensive we were in depicting these two women- underlying it all he felt that they were too crazy to be filmed. And they, they weren't crazy. They were eccentric. And in fact when the two women saw the film they liked it very much. And in spite of the fact that Mr Goodman, at the end of his piece, described us as people who should be disgusted for having made this film, the film itself is- is a very bold and incisive attempt to depict the most profound human relationship which even literature has neglected to, to describe- the mother / daughter relationship- so that it's a very significant film in film history. And again, the daughter told us when she came back from visiting her mother- as her mother was dying in the hospital- she told us that in those last moments she turned to her mother and asked if there was something more she wanted to say and her mother said- there's nothing more to say. It's all in the film. So that we had done a great service for these two women and to their dying day, for both of them- the daughter only died about a year ago- we've kept up a respectful and loving relationship. To the extent that where we've come out with a DVD of the film and one of my daughters, Sara, is putting together a scrap book made up of letters that the daughter Edie and I had exchanged with each other, telephone conversations, photographs from their life all those years before they met my brother and myself, and on and on; outs from the film. Just the other day I got a call from one of the people in the film, this young man called Jerry, and I haven't heard from him for the 30 years now since the film was made, but he called me the other day to say that he'd like to get together for sentimental reasons and that he was a cab driver here in New York. So I'm calling him back, recording the conversation, and I hope that I can join him in his cab and we can continue our friendship with my camera in hand so that that sort of thing, plus a number of other things, will be in the DVD that will be attached to the scrapbook once it's published.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Rebekah Maysles Tamara Tracz Sara Maysles

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tags: Grey Gardens, New York, Walter Goodman

Duration: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008