I Classici del Cinema – Oltre il Giardino


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Quando nel 1971 il romanzo Oltre il Giardino di Jerzy Kosinski viene pubblicato, Peter Sellers ne è letteralmente folgorato, tanto da inviare al suo autore un telegramma che dice «Disponibile nel mio giardino o fuori» con a fianco il numero di telefono. Il libro, una graffiante satira contro il potere politico fortemente condizionato dal fascino seduttivo della televisione, racconta le gesta di Chance, un cinquantenne analfabeta e ritardato che non è mai uscito fuori dalla villa di cui curava il giardino. La morte del suo vecchio padrone lo porta in mezzo alla strada, in un mondo che conosce solo attraverso i programmi televisivi. Un banale incidente lo mette in contatto con un anziano Senatore. Il candore di Chance viene scambiato per saggezza profonda ed alcune sue considerazioni casuali interpretate come acute riflessioni sulla condizione umana. Di equivoco in equivoco diventa una celebrità nazionale e si ritrova ad un passo dalla candidatura alla Presidenza degli Stati Uniti.

Sellers insegue il sogno di portare sul grande schermo il romanzo di Kosinski per ben 8 anni, fino a quando – nel 1979 – il progetto si concretizza. La sceneggiatura è affidata allo stesso scrittore, mentre la regia viene curata da Hal Ashby, uno dei cineasti più rappresentativi ed intelligenti della New Hollywod. In mani altrui Oltre il Giardino avrebbe corso il rischio di trasformarsi in una parabola sciocca o in fiacca critica della credulità umana. Ma la sapiente e misurata direzione di Ashby, con la sua atmosfera tranquilla e crepuscolare, e l’immensa performance di Peter Sellers costituiscono l’innervatura di un lavoro delicatissimo, surreale e poetico insieme, connotato da una soave leggerezza che sa farsi sottile metafora di un mondo che – avendo smarrito i propri riferimenti culturali – non sa più distinguere il falso dal vero, o l’ignoranza dalla sapienza. Impossibile immaginare qualcun altro nei panni di Chance. Ad un personaggio che ha amato moltissimo, Sellers regala la sua interpretazione più memorabile. Giocando di sottrazione, l’attore inglese diventa una maschera compassata, apparentemente inespressiva, folle e lunare eppure credibilissima.

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