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The importance of a good editor

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Grey Gardens: showing the film to the Beales and defining intimacy, exploitation and vulnerabiliy
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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Once we finished the film, we wanted the first people to see it, would be the mother and her daughter; so we brought the film to Grey Gardens with a projector, we showed it to them and there was a moment of silence and then Edie walked back and forth in the room and in an extremely loud voice shouted- the Maysles have created a classic! So we knew right away that the film was approved, and quite heartily. All of that being in great contrast to some of the reviews that we got where we were criticized for exploiting these women, whatever. Some people just don't understand the difference between getting to know somebody very intimately and somehow or other hurting them and exploiting them. There's an interesting word in this regard. It shows you how cockeyed this culture is with regard to people getting to know one another on an intimate level. The word is: vulnerability. And somehow when- when one speaks of another person candidly, exposing their inner thoughts to another person, whereas oh, their vulnerabilities. As if- as if through the process of being very open with another person you're going to get hurt. Because- because that's what the word vulnerable means. You're- you're exposing yourself to the possibility of getting hurt. Now, now why people choose that word rather than another word- I don't even know what that other word would be- but a word that expresses the notion that by opening your heart and soul to another person you're doing something healthful and beneficial- something that shows your strength and adds to your strength; which I think is the case of what happened with the Beale's. I think that their- their opportunity to be recognized as artists, as women of creative fashion, of, of an eccentric- an eccentricity that nevertheless was, was a love story- there was a genuine and beautiful love between these two women under odd circumstances. But people use this word vulnerable. I would like to find out what that word is or see a word invented that expresses the fact that people can be benefited in a very positive way by sharing their thoughts and emotions with other people. We seem to stress the fact- oh, you're going to be hurt if you- if you tell people who you really are. I don't go with that.

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: Tamara Tracz Rebekah Maysles Sara Maysles

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

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.

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, David Maysles, Edie Beale

Duration: 3 minutes, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008