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Being There (1979)

Cast: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, more...
Director: Hal Ashby
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Rating:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Comedies, Political Satire
Running Time: 130 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
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Synopsis
Having lived his life as the gardener on a millionaire's estate, Chance (Peter Sellers) knows of the real world only what he has seen on TV. When his benefactor dies, Chance walks aimlessly into the streets of Washington D.C., where he is struck by a car owned by wealthy Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine). Identifying himself, the confused man mutters "Chance...gardener," which Eve takes to be "Chauncey Gardiner." Eve takes him to her home to convalesce, and because Chance is so well-dressed and well-groomed, and because he speaks in such a cultured tone, everyone in her orbit assumes that "Chauncey Gardiner" must be a man of profound intelligence. No matter what he says, it is interpreted as a pearl of wisdom and insight. He rises to the top of Washington society, where his simplistic responses to the most difficult questions (responses usually related to his gardening experience) are highly prized by the town's movers and shakers. In fact, there is serious consideration given to running Chance as a presidential candidate. Both a modern fable and a political satire, Being There was based on the novel by Jerzy Kosinski and costars Melvyn Douglas, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as Eve's aging power-broker husband. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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Forrest Gump
More Hollywoodized take on a slow-witted man who becames accidentally famous

Network
Another brilliant 70s satire on TV


GreenCine Member Reviews

Peter Sellers presents the Daodejing by Misshaped July 3, 2004 - 10:40 PM PDT
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4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
The spirit and meaning of this film manifests itself differently for each person who sees it. This is quite like the character, Chance, played to perfection by Peter Sellers. You may see him as Jesus, a divine man and uncorruptable by power, wealth or lust. Or maybe he's just like the slow witted soul, Forrest Gump, who savors the most out of life and his lucky encounters. Some have likened him to the Roadrunner in the cartoons, who can easily avoid the pitfalls while the Coyote drops off the cliff everytime.

Reading about Taoism, I can see in this film a clear connection to the order and harmony of nature, which will always prevail over the power of the state. Chance is in accord with Tao. He is simple, in harmony with his garden, and unconcerned with fame or fortune. In Chinese writings, Taoists were said to have magical powers and could heal people or restore their vitality. One is not supposed to strive for power since that is pure vanity. One should try to do "nothing". This is the state of wu-wei...following the flow of natural forces. Chance is carried along this stream of events in his life, never resisting but allowing life to happen around him. By doing nothing, he accomplishes everything.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 7.80)
321 Votes
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100 Best English Language Films That I've Seen
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Alphabetical Order: Best English Narratives in the World
MDallum
Double Features
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These are some good ideas for double features, some connection are more tenuous than others. Feel free to send me your own double feat's.
NGitomer

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