Being There wishes to be a metaphor,nbut it slips into caricature. The assertionnthat stupidity rules the worldnis not without merit, but as both an historicalnand social force, stupidity canncome to prominence only through thenexistence of an antithetical force thatnis capable of taking advantage of stupidnpeople who create doltish situations.nDon Quixote’s lack of a sense of realitynwhich, actually, is dimwittedness at itsnbest, makes him pay for his mental deficiency.nThe authors of Being Therenhave no such subtlety of vision: theirndoleful retard moves in the ecology ofnmorons—and instead of comedy, or atnleast satire, we have a sort of pseudohautencuisine-slapstick with smirkingnambitions that pretend to somethingnwhich never materializes on screen.nWhile Candide suffered the consequencesnof his naivete-cum-innocence,nthe protagonist of Being There collectsnfantastic rewards for his idiocy. Andnthere is offered no dimension of someninherent factor in the affairs of thisnworld which would not make us—thenpeople in the audience—feel responsiblenfor such an appalling arrangement.nHowever, there is some merit to such anthought too: after all, we have paid for anticket to see this demonstration of freakcurio-cinematicn”philosophy.” A littlengracefulness in delineating the mainnmotifs of the movie would help, but thenauthors seem to be incapable of infusingntheir work with an ounce of inspiration,nlightness of touch or charm. They areneven confused about whether the heronis an imbecile because he constantlynwatches TV, or if he constantly watchesnTV because he is an imbecile.nCoal Miner’s Daughter consists ofntwo familiar layers; only one containsnsimple, unassuming but fresh and startlinglynsubtle insights. These insightsnshould have had better notice and morenappreciation from both the reviewersnand the public, as the very matter withn48inChronicles of Culturenwhich the director and the scriptwriterndeal is by nature drab, and has beennthoroughly exploited by all possiblenforms of artistic communication—fromnpainting through prose and drama tonmanneristic ballads in all kinds of music.nThe hard work, misery and grimness of andirt-poor miner’s family in Kentuckyncoal country can be approached from twonangles: proletarian revolutionary angernor school-book nationalism. Both arenrather naive, sentimental and hackneyed,nbut rarely does one know, innletters or in visual arts, how to eschewnthem. The first part of this movie doesnexactly that: it conveys vignettes andndelicate, pictorial touches of an impoverished,ncramped, deprived existencenwhich nevertheless encompasses a lotnof humanness, decency, dignity, simplenwisdom, moral sensitivity, even serenity.nThe attempt to put some smiles,nwarmth, existential colorfulness andnindividual chance for something better,nricher, lighter into both the human andnnatural landscape is highly successfulnand makes Sissy Spacek, the heroine ofnthe movie, both credible and engaging.nA sort of latter-day anti-Hollywoodnnativism emanates from this picture,nwhich is sort of surprising since it wasnshot by an English director—anothernproof that even American jingoism cannbe a cosmopolitan proposition.nThe second part is a meager, if notndownright cheap, rendition of an entertainernwho is so wildly accepted by thenpublic and so pampered by fate that shen(the folk singer Loretta Lynn) breaksndown under the burden of money andnfame. The breakdown is never satisfactorilynexplained—is it character.” destiny.’ncircumstances.’ The ultimatenreason, it seems, is the obnoxiousnessnof the American fan, that prototypicalnhomo Americanus—indeed, a mindlessnand somewhat frightening creature whonpuzzles and repels social and culturalnobservers, but without whom the starnsystem —so beneficial for Lorettawouldncollapse. An opportunity to explain,nor illuminate, the nature and substancenof American country music—itsnnninterrelationship with American urbannmusic, so triumphant in modern culturenon a global scale—has been forsaken.nThat’s a pity; much could have beennsaid about small-town music in citiesnthat are not necessarily small, butnwhich have a smallness, or parochiality,nthat recreates itself into sui generisnbigness in its own right —of whichnNashville is the prime example.nAs the title indicates, Agee is aboutnJames Agee, a literary and creative meteorite—poet,nnovelist, journalist, criticnand scriptwriter. In fact, Agee, who diednin 1955 at the age of 45, might havenbeen one of the not-so-few cultural activistsnwho, during our century, lookednfor and attempted to work out a functionalnsynthesis of art and technology,nliterature and movie-making, by involvingnpreviously disparate forms of creationnwith one another. Mr. Spears’snmovie, obviously a fruit of his love fornAgee himself, as well as for his artisticnexpression, renders justice to both.nAgee’s fine sense of his time and ofnlarger meanings of existence, his feelingnfor the miseries of life, his nondoctrinairenpopulism come across untaintednby a “message”—unless we consider Mr.nSpears’s unabashed love for his protagonistna message in itself.nAgee is a good case for the possibilitiesnof the documentary as a film genre.nThe fact that it will be screened onlynat universities, or—as an acme of success—innthe New York MetropolitannArt Museum and Washington D.C.’snKennedy Center, proves how little thisnkind of picture is appreciated. Whichnis a pity.nGet Out Your Handkerchiefs, likenmost French literature, drama and, consequently,nfilm, is suffused with thatnuniquely French penchant for endlessndebate, for spinning a never-ending discourse,ndilettantish in nature. Thus,n