The Relevance of Being There (1979)

‘First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.’

 

This is just some of the profound wisdom, or basic gardening advice, that elevates a simple minded man named Chance (Peter Sellers) to the very top of American political society in Hal Ashby's satirical gem, Being There (1979). And part of its magic, is that its premise has become less and less absurd over time. Now, more than 40 years since its release, in an age where we increasingly depend on soundbites for information and Trump will run for a second term as president, Being There is a film that's more relevant now than it's ever been.

 

Since as long as he can remember, Chance has lived and worked in the same household, following the same routine in the same surroundings. He tends to the garden, he eats his meals and he likes to watch TV. He is a recluse, whose understanding of the outside world is entirely shaped by the images he sees on TV, 

 

 

When it was first released, some saw it as a comment on the rise of Ronald Reagan, who 

 

 

Since as long as he can remember, Chance has lived and worked in the same household, following the same routine in the same surroundings. He tends to the garden, he eats his meals and he watches TV. He is a recluse, whose understanding of the outside world is shaped by the images he sees on TV, 

 

Upon its release the film was seen by some as a poignant reference to the rise of Ronald Reagan, who would go onto win the 1980 presidential election the following year. But now, over 40 years later, during the era of Trump and social media, Being There is maybe more relevant now than ever before.

The film was a timely observation of America at the end of 1970's, and a precursor to Ronald Reagan's victory in the 1980 presidential campaign. Now, over 40 years later on the eve of Trump's campaign for a second term, in an age where we increasingly depend on soundbites for information, Being There is more relevant now than ever.

In an age where we increasingly depend on soundbites for information, Hal Ashby’s satire is a suitable and comical precursor to the rise of Trump.

*The way in which we consume and process information

*The prejudice of the American Dream

Commercials through the film provide small soundbites of information, and Chance essentially does the same 

Chance becomes marketable by the end, which results in him being considered for the presidency.

'reasonable, intense, sense of humour'

straight-talking

'you don't play games with words to protect yourself, you're direct'

'as long as the roots of industry remain firmly planted in the national soil, the economic prospects are undoubtedly sunny.'

'all you've got to be is white in American to get what you want'

'the gift of being natural'