I apologize for the lack of posts lately— there has been an illness and subsequent death in my family and I’ve been very preoccupied. As things return to normal I hope to resume my regular posting schedule. Thanks for understanding!
describe the scene of the bedroom, including Big Edie's bed, etc. what does the scene in the documentary tell us about their personalities, behavior or relationship with each other?
Because the majority of the film’s action takes place in the Yellow Bedroom, this is where we learn most about the Beale women— as individuals and in their relationship with each other. Confined to her bed, Big Edie is still the matriarch and head of the house— she does not let her age or her failing health deter her from carrying herself like the beautiful, charming woman she was in the days of her wealth and youth. With no hired help to serve her, she is forced to turn to her daughter, who begrudgingly follows her every command. Feeling it her duty as the oldest and most responsible of her siblings, Little Edie obeys her mother’s orders whilst singing, dancing, and adjusting her costume— infusing a bit of light into her dreary situation. Big Edie’s bed is littered with every piece of garbage imaginable— food, papers, photographs. Her world at her fingertips, this is Big Edie’s way of remaining in control of her life, no matter how unsanitary it may seem to others. Aware of how unhealthy and unappealing it is, Little Edie tries in vain to convince her mother to change her ways. This is the basis of the Beale’s relationship— both women know the other will never change, but they spend much of their time attempting to get the other to do so.
It bothered me tremendously to see Big Edie lying atop her bed without a comfortable pillow for head and neck support. This seemed as pitiful to me as the cluttered and filthy state of the bed itself, because it seemed to signify that no one cared about the most basic state of her bodily comfort. Why do you imagine this was, with the likes of tge Maysles, Lois and Doris Francisco in and out of the room. I feel sure she would not have turned down the gift of a pillow.
I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think Big Edie looked at all in pain in the documentary— in fact, I think she looks extremely comfortable and “at home:” one of the reasons why she refused to leave Grey Gardens in the first place.
I know this comparison has been made before, but she sits on her bed like a Queen on her throne. If she needed anything, there is no doubt she would ask/demand that Edie get it for her as soon as possible. And, on closer inspection, there is always a space between her back and the headboard, and she occasionally leans behind herself to adjust something several times throughout the film, which leads me to believe that there is something to support her, after all. You can see a glimpse of something in this screencap:
Big Edie was well taken care of at Grey Gardens— Little Edie was the one who was uncomfortable most of the time!