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Documentary Director Albert Maysles Shows and Discusses 'Gray Gardens'

By Joseph T. Scarry

Documentary film-maker Albert Maysles said yesterday that he feels his films make viewers question how necessary it is to expose other people's lives, at a discussion following a screening of his latest film, "Gray Gardens," at the Freshman Union.

"Gray Gardens" depicts 79-year-old Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie eating, singing, and arguing in their run-down Long Island home.

Maysles said his film team had a relationship with the Beales characterized by an "intense determination to stay out of' the women's lives, but it "added a relaxed kind of feeling that may have not existed before between the two women."

The result, he said, is that the women opened themselves to the camera, and the film showed the Beales as "real people, able to reach other people as real people."

Maysles said he prefers documentaries because they provide an objective view of any situation, but regrets that "most people do violence to documentaries by injecting opinion into them."

The Freshman Arts program sponsored the workshop, part of a series which attempts to bring students into contact with practicing professionals. Maysles, who collaborates on his movies with his brother, David, filmed the 1969 documentary Gimme Shelter, a controversial record of a Rolling Stones concert tour that climaxed in the murders of several audience members at Altamont.

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