My friend Kevin has just posted a fascinating essay arguing that Chance, the main character of my favourite movie, Being There, is best seen through a Taoist, not Zen Buddhist lens. Kevin brings a few decades of serious study of comparative religion to the question, and his points are well-argued.
For what it’s worth, my own review (linked above) lacked an awareness of just how appropriate Taoism is as a vehicle for understanding Chance; subsequently, I have spent a few visits in a Taoist temple, read the Tao Te Ching, and begun reading the Chuang-tzu, in addition to doing some other reading on Taoism. I agree with Kevin that Chance is best viewed, not as Zen saint or master, but as one embodying the quest to return to the state of the Uncarved Block of Taoism. If I were to re-write my review now, I would incorporate this new awareness I have gained, but fortunately, very little of my review would actually be affected. Nevertheless, I consider Kevin’s essay an invaluable source of light on the movie.