I watched the film “Being There” starring Peter Sellers last night for class.
This film is nuts, but in a very subtle way. It is about a gardener who appears to be mentally disabled (at least to me), who has never before left the estate of his employer who dies at the beginning of the film. Evicted from the only place he’d ever known, the gardener stumbles through the world and somehow is recognized as being profound at first by a dying billionaire, then by the president, and so on. This film is a high, high satire, and really felt in place with the sociology class I watched it in. That class is called Strangeness in Everyday Life, and boy is it a doozy. Maybe I’ll write more about it later, as it is powerfully strange.
Anyway, back to the film–Peter Sellers’ last film as it turns out. I’ve never seen anything with him in it before, and never really understood who he was. Now I think I get the reason I’ve heard his name around though he is over thirty years dead now. He is a funny, funny man in a very simple sort of way (in this film at least).
“Being There” — Great film, probably a classic really.
P.S. I read the Roger Ebert essay or review or whatever about “Being There” after seeing the film. I think he was mostly spot on, but he did go off about how the main romantic/sexual subplot in film was unnecessary. Truly, I think he is mistaken in this regard. The subplot seemed like an important part of the satire for me, because it demonstrated how even an unintelligent person can make headway in that form of scenario without trying, knowing, or doing anything really. Plot-wise, it also sets up the ending a little bit better. Ebert may not have liked it, but I thought it added a bit. Even ‘love’ is capable of being passed (sociology term), glossed over.