For a documentary about going to seed, David and Albert Maysles’ 1975 Grey Gardens has proven to be surprisingly fertile in recent decades. A portrait of the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy’s aunt and cousin “Big” Edie and “Little” Edie Beale in a dilapidated mansion in East Hampton, N.Y., the Maysles made a follow-up in 2006 called The Beales of Grey Gardens. A Broadway music opened that same year, followed by a narrative film made for HBO in 2009, and it was the subject of the brilliant parody series Documentary Now!’s inaugural episode in 2015, surely the highest honor.
More blood is squeezed from the Bealestone in Göran Hugo Olsson’s That Summer, which scrounges up — and pads out — an hour of footage that artist Peter Beard shot in 1972. (When Beard’s own documentary was through, the Maysles returned in ’73 and shot what became Grey Gardens.) An odds-and-sods compilation that’s even heavier on the squalor porn, That Summer is primarily for Grey Gardens completists — you know who you are — in the manner of those gray-market recordings of the pre-fame Beatles in Hamburg. But as those Hamburg recordings have a stone-cold classic in “Cry for a Shadow,” Beard’s footage has some worthy additions to the Bealecanon, especially “Imagine having raccoons in East Hampton.” Imagine, indeed.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.