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Being There (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Peter Sellers stars in this slow-burning and haunting dramedy about a humble gardener who unwittingly becomes a pundit. Info


Everybody needs to see Being There. Based on the satirical Jerzy Kosinski 1970 novel of the same name, this 1979 Peter Sellers-starring dramedy adaptation chronicles the improbable ascent of a humble gardener to an in-demand political pundit. The how and why of this transformation are best left to experience the first time you see the movie, but there's a trajectory and momentum ratcheted up as more and more people mistake Sellers' simple adages as profound insights into political policy and life itself. In the age of social media, 24-hour news, and growing exhaustion with "takes," director Hal Ashby's slow-burn approach is as refreshing as it's ever been. Ashby (The Last Detail, Harold And Maude) lifts the curtain on how much of our culture and species is, well, really an experiment. The result is at once understated and haunting. Being There doesn't tell you what to think or how to feel about the delicate soft-tissue inertia guiding the philosophy in all the systems and structures impacting each of us daily, but boy does it give you something to ponder. —David Wolinsky

Earlier Event: December 5
Eve Ewing (free)
Later Event: December 6
Dana Gould