Grey Gardens

In case you missed Grey Gardens when it came out some 30 years ago, or if you weren’t born yet, there’s now an opportunity to indulge your voyeurism jones by renting the Maysles brothers’ documentary about two extremely eccentric women on Long Island who just happened to be related to Jackie Kennedy. The movie has been something of a cult classic for most of the years since its initial release. It is grimly fascinating, but also disquieting. A new and gussied-up DVD edition of the film has just been released and, though both of the women profiled are now dead, their lives on film still have the power to make viewers take another look at their own lives. “Big Edie” Bouvier and her daughter “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale shared a filthy 27-room house when documentary filmmakers in the early ’70s were drawn to their story by newspaper accounts of the squalid conditions they were living in, and by their relationship to the former first lady. The two women also shared the house with lots of cats, and the few rooms the women lived in were so flea-ridden that the filmmakers took to wearing flea collars around their ankles. Compelling viewing, and very sad.