An uneducated, illiterate white man who gets all his information from watching television becomes President of the United States after his brand of empty populist rhetoric convinces a shadowy cabal of political kingmakers that he is the right man to lead the country. Sound familiar? In the past couple of years, Being There has certainly gained an extra level of ironic significance in the light of recent happenings in the U.S., but the culmination of Ashby's remarkable 1970s output was already considered a classic. Based on Jerzy Kosinski's novel of the same name, Being There is a deft comic parable about the naive, childlike Chauncey Gardner (Peter Sellers) who, after the death of his employer, leaves his cloistered existence and enters the world of the Washington, D.C. elite. Sellers gives an iconic, Oscar-nominated performance as the man whose simplistic statements are interpreted as the koans of a genius, and Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden and Melvyn Douglas (an Oscar winner for his turn as a fading powerbroker) provide inspired support. In Being There, Ashby achieves a balancing of tones that seems impossible, creating a film that is at once incisively satirical and gently accepting of its characters' flaws. It is the essence of Ashby's genius.
Hal Ashby, in full William Hal Ashby, (1929-1988), American filmmaker, one of the preeminent directors of the 1970s, who was especially noted for such films as Harold and Maude (1971), Shampoo (1975), and Being There (1979).
1970 Właściciel / The Landlord
1971 Harold i Maude / Harold and Maude
1973 Ostatnie zadanie / The Last Detail
1975 Szampon / Shampoo
1976 By nie pełzać na kolanach / Bound for Glory
1978 Powrót do domu / Coming Home
1979 Wystarczy być / Being There