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The best way to approach documentary film making: truth and reality


Grey Gardens: the editing
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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You know, one thing that irritates me with so many movies- good guys, bad guys; Cowboys and Indians, right? The Cowboys are always the good guys. But it wouldn't be any better if it were turned the other way round either. And, you know, in the film "Grey Gardens" most editors I think would take that easy course of favoring one of the women over the other and making perhaps big Edie- the mother- kind of a monster, keeping Edie from ever getting married and so forth. But, you know, it takes two to do the Tango and, and the basic thing about that relationship was that they loved each other. It was a genuine love. And that was paramount to the way that the film was put together. You- you could understand their love; you could connect with these two women but not on the basis of pitting one against the other. And it was very important that we selected two women to edit the film with- who had exactly that kind of approach in mind. It made the film so much- so much better; so much better.

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: Sara Maysles Tamara Tracz Rebekah Maysles

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.

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.

Tags: Grey Gardens, Edie Beale

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008