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Directed by Hal Ashby

United States 1979 130 mins. In English

In one of his most memorable roles, Peter Sellers plays Chance, a hermetic housekeeper at a wealthy man’s sprawling, lavish residence in Washington, DC. Apparently having not left the estate in some time, he is unceremoniously flung into the world when his patron unexpectedly dies. The problem is that Chance’s only knowledge of the world has come from televised depictions. Soon he is involved in international politics through a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations, Ashby and screenwriter Jerzy Kosinski gleefully incising the vapidity of electoral politics and the US’s collective fascination with mainstream media versions and distortions of reality. “There’s an exhilaration in seeing artists at the very top of their form: It almost doesn’t matter what the art form is, if they’re pushing their limits and going for broke and it’s working. We can sense their joy of achievement—and even more so if the project in question is a risky, off-the-wall idea that could just as easily have ended disastrously. Being There is a movie that inspires those feelings. . . confoundingly provocative.”—Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times.

Genres: Comedy

Appears in: Print the Legend



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.