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Fri-Sun, Apr 22-24


  • Dir. Hal Ashby
  • USA
  • 1979
  • 130 min.
  • PG
  • DCP
  • Assistive Listening
  • Hearing Loop

Part of Weekend Classics.

Gentle and slow-witted Chance (Peter Sellers) tends a garden on a palatial estate and knows nothing of the outside world except what he sees watching television. Then a limousine hits him, and everything changes. Elevated to celebrity status by the limousine’s powerful passenger, Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), Chance charms everyone, including the President of the United States (Jack Warden). Can his simple but wise gardening metaphors solve the country’s complex problems? Chance helps peace grow and flourish in this comic, cautionary fable about the power of simplicity. Based on the novel by Jerzy Kosinski. Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas) and Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Sellers)

“A brutal look at America and Americans that gently lifts up the mirror image that television gives us of ourselves, smashes it on the marble floors of our political institutions and holds a chunk of jagged glass to our throats. And then makes us laugh.” ––Michael Blowen, Boston Globe

“Satire is a threatened species in American film, and when it does occur, it's usually broad and slapstick, as in the Mel Brooks films. BEING THERE, directed by Hal Ashby, is a rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and stays with it.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“The result must be one of the boldest of commercial comedies, for the way it turns on passages of dead time, the dreadful pauses while other characters struggle to see the significance in each of Chance's cryptically meaningless remarks.” —Richard Combs, Sight & Sound