The Immortal Awards juror and founder of Great Guns heads back to 1979 to marvel at Chance the gardener…
In the run up to this year's Immortal Awards, each of our inaugural jurors has taken the time to identify a form of creativity outside of the ad sphere that they deem 'dead clever'.
They've all selected a super smart creative idea that they believe will live forever and next up in the series is Laura Gregory, founder and CEO of Great Guns, who selects Peter Sellers’ masterful performance in Hal Ashby’s 1979 classic…
Being There (1979), directed by Hal Ashby
A film that captured the world and caused us all to connect and relate to life and one another through the single, simple and beautifully observed direction of Hal Ashby and the photography of Caleb Deschanel, from the book and screenplay by Jerzy Kosinski.
The iconic film poster that honours Rene Magritte's equally iconic The Son of Man painting really sets the scene. A businessman in a top hat, pinstripe suit and umbrella, rising above the establishment with magical ease.
What matters most is the brilliance of Peter Sellers, who carries his character through the innocent eyes and mind of Chance the gardener. Chance lived a sheltered life in the Washington D.C. home of an old man. When the old man dies, Chance is put out on the street, with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television and the old man’s garden. The use of Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 – Strauss, as Chance leaves the old man’s house, is genius.
It’s here in Sellers hands that we are held, living through the awkwardness and seemingly complex issues of our everyday lives. And yet, Sellers melts our hearts. He forces us to laugh at our own self-inflicted rules of nonsense of business, of politics and the general everyday bullshit of our societal existence. He gives beautifully timed and worded direction and advice, explained as if he were tending to his garden, taking care of the shrubs, pruning the roses and getting rid of the aphids.
And why not. It made perfect sense. He was nothing more than a gardener. And when he saw problems, he naturally saw solutions that made sense to him through what he knew.
I wonder how different life would be if we didn’t make such a big deal or over-complicate it. I wonder what Chance would make of the White House and its blond aphid. I’m sure his solution would enlighten us all and amazingly, we would see the common sense in his words. Speaking of gardeners, I wonder what Capability Brown would do with that swamp. Sellers would have us all in stitches at every dinner table as we reflect on the beautiful world of Chauncey Gardner.
We've all been there and that’s the brilliant beauty.
The art of storytelling.
Laura Gregory will be judging this year's The Immortal Awards. The September 3rd deadline is fast approaching so all Little Black Book members should head over to the submissions page to submit their best work. If you aren't a member of Little Black Book yet, then you can subscribe here.