1. THE GIFT OF BEING A NOBODY: “David Brent: A Life on the Road"
In the chill of January 1897 my grandmother Ethel Finch Taylor was born to Margaret Halstead Ashworth, artist, and Alfred John Taylor, grocer/ confectioner, in bustling seaside Blackpool. Little could she know of the challenges ahead of her or the paths she would tread; none of us knows that.
And it is easy to want something more, something special out of life, especially after surviving times of great hardship.
BLACKPOOL c. 1900
Ordinary people and ordinary lives would seem bare pickings for an engrossing narrative, yet writers prove over and over again the value of small lives, small dreams, the minutae of our lives.
Ricky Gervais has displayed remarkable insight and sensivity in his new film, “David Brent." I sat there squirming as his layers peeled off before our eyes. At one point I asked myself, “Can I bear to see a soul stripped bare this way? Can I bear to see this man, his eyes flickering with vulnerability, making a complete fool of himself in front of a cruel public, a cruel world?” Despite my discomfort, I hung in there….. and I was glad I did because Gervais displayed an astounding emotional range, from the hilarious and the ridiculous, to the searing barb, the eye-watering pain of exclusion and naked realisation of his isolation in the world. Gervais reflects the words of the wonderful French film-maker of the New Wave, Truffaut, who once said,”Film is more important than life.” He has put up a mirror to us all, reflecting back to us how vulnerable we all are and how much ‘street cred' we give to the callous, the bullies and the loud-mouths of this world. He has also demonstrated the power of the film-maker as author. All David Brent wants, is to have his moment in the spotlight, to have the experience of being a rock star — no matter how painful it is for him, nor how painful and touching it is for the spectator to witness. This is a film we need to watch with a sense of forgiveness and tenderness; a film of the moment. A worthwhile watch. (To be continued...) MM
Ricky Gervais in interview
Ricky Gervais has the Nobody cornered -- with piercing insight, boundless wit and generosity and a searing vulnerability.... this film is a gift.