Friday, July 10, 2009

The Living Room Becomes You

The Bed Sitting Room(1969)Directed By Richard Lester

A film about the fear of mutating into a small apartment, in a world where building is forbidden! Or the best metaphor for a fear of progress and modern life, I've come across. One of the oddest British films, I've ever seen too. A satire of 60's Britain, unable to escape their post-WW2 shell-shocked mentality and unwilling to move forward with history, or so the film seems to signal. In any event, Richard Lester must have had an impressive budget for this. All the sets are ruins, but they are amazing ruins; cathedrals submerged in water, escalators to nowhere, and a bed-sitting room in the middle of the wasteland. At some point in the past England lost WW3, the shortest and most catastrophic of wars referred to as "the great nuclear misunderstanding", which has left England's surviving population of about 20 or so completely, if not near completely insane.Those who are not insane, like Dudley Moore in his balloon powered police car, forbidding people from any kind of re-construction (less the attacks be re-provoked), while the other survivors are suffering sudden bizarre mutations, mostly into furniture.After a Lord transforms, slowly and hilariously into a full on bed sitting room, others begin mutating, into cabinets and parrots, and moving inside of him. The story of the life and times of a pregnant girl and her family who have been living on the subway (riding in perpetual circles), but decide to go back to the surface world, coincides with the story of our Lord the bed sitting room, which represents a real problem; not only is the man an object, he's the first new building, and sign of civilization in years, bringing him into direct conflict with the balloon bound authorities. When he asks a doctor what he should do about it, "My advice, charge 20 quid rent, be mindful of drafts". Hijinks's ensue, and while bleak at times (a few shades light of a dead baby joke). Richard Lester's madcap "The Bed Sitting Room", is one of those odd, clever, allegorical comedies, that's ultimately too singular to forget, and maybe just too smart for it's own good. A film political and absurd in it's time, to have been properly appreciated, and all but forgotten now. For people who like Monty Python, Alejandro Jodorowsky, or Steven Soderberg's "Schizopolis", of whom Richard Lester is the driving influence, this is the only post-Apaca-slapstick comedy you need to watch.. Ever thought you were turning into your couch, well, you are!

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