O magritteano poster norte-americano

Ontem à noite revi “Muito Além do Jardim“.

Foi a primeira vez que revi o filme, que assisti quando estreou no Brasil, possivelmente em 1979 (esse é o ano da produção, como naquele tempo acho que os filmes não tinham estréias mundiais simultâneas como hoje, pode ter sido em 1980).

A primeira coisa que me chamou a atenção é a mudança no tempo cinematográfico.  Os filmes de hoje em dia _ e não falo dos blockbusters apenas _ são muitíssimo mais rápidos, quase frenéticos em relação ao MAJ.   E isso mesmo levando em conta que o diretor do filme, Hal Ashby, era um expoente do movimento chamado New Hollywood, que namorava com o que chamaríamos de cena indie de hoje em dia.

Também, em minha memória “inventada”, as situações em que Chance se mete e que vão progressivamente fazendo dele uma potência da Beltway me pareciam mais críveis, em retrospecto.  Mas ainda assim o filme continua a ser um interessante experimento dos pressupostos entre mensagem e receptor, entre o que se diz e o que se entende.

No entanto, a grande controvérsia sobre o filme diz mesmo respeito ao seu final, em que Chance sai andando sem rumo do funeral de Ben Rand, termina às margens de um lago e simplesmente anda sobre ele:

(a partir dos 3m34s)

Li algumas “interpretações” da cena, mas me pareceu que a melhor mesmo é essa que aliás vem de alguém que conheceu Hal Ashby, o diretor _ e se trata de uma história deliciosa:

How the “Walking on Water” Shot in Being There Actually Got Made

by Michael Dare

The script for Being There ends as both Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine take walks in the wood. They run into each other. She says “I was looking for you, Chance.” He says “I was looking for you too.” They take hands and walk off together.

But near the end of production, somebody went up to Hal and said “How’s it going?”

“Great,” Hal said. “Sellers has created this character that’s so amazing, I could have him walk on water and people would believe it.” Hal stopped and thought. “As a matter of fact, I will have him walk on water.”

Hal was out on location, miles from Hollywood. The last thing on earth he needed was to contact the home office to discuss the idea of Chance walking on water. It’s an idea that wouldn’t pitch or read well. If it had been in the script, there would have been endless arguments over what this Jesus allegory was doing in the picture. Only if you’ve actually seen the film do you realize that it’s not a Jesus allegory at all. Chance can walk on water because nobody ever told him he couldn’t, not because he’s the resurrection of Christ.

Hal knew he could make it work, just as he knew that there was no way in hell the studio would approve of more money for such a controversial shot that wasn’t even in the script. He decided to do it anyway.

First, he called Robert Downey, who had a scene in Greaser’s Palace where the main character walked on water. Hal knew that Downey didn’t have a lot of money, so he asked for advice on how to do it. Downey told him it was simple. Just go to an airport, get a certain kind of platform, and place it in the water. Hal followed Downey’s advise and got the shot for less than $10,000.

Second, he had to deal with keeping the shot a secret. There was this one, very well dressed kid around the set who was officially called a PA, but whom Hal suspected of being the studio spy. Hal called him into his office and read him the riot act.

“I’m going to ask you to make a decision right now that’s going to affect the rest of your life,” he told the kid. “I’m going to ask you to decided whose side you’re on. I know you’ve been watching me because you want to learn how to make movies. I also know you’re watching me to make reports to the studio behind my back. I’m about to change the end of this movie because I’ve come up with a better one. The studio can’t know about it or they’ll shut me down. This is it, kid. Decide. Are you on the side of art or commerce?”

The kid kept his mouth shut. The shot got made. The studio was pissed but they used the shot anyway. Hal didn’t give them a choice. He didn’t even shoot the ending in the script.” [grifo meu]

***

Se alguém aí estiver disposto a ver o filme, sugiro que leia depois esse excelente review de Roger Ebert (com cujo parágrafo final não concordo), para quem “Being There” é um dos grandes filmes de todos os tempos.  No que eu o sigo, embora possivelmente uma parte ponderável dessa impressão se deva ao “twist” aplicado por Ashby no final do filme na última hora, e que o impregna com um senso surrealista que lhe cai muito bem.

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