Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2001
UK: Mandrake Media
Cast: David Paymer, Crispin Glover, Glenne Headly, Maury Chaykin, Joe Piscopo, Seymour Cassel, Carrie Snodgrass, Dick Martin, Greta Danielle Newgren, Stoney Burke, Ken Murakami, Terry Allen Jones, Josh Kornbluth, Stuart Klitsner, Nick Scoggin, Pete Marvel, Catherine di Napoli, Louis Landman, Robert Ernst, James Carraway, Tim Wiggins, Howie Gordon, Olivier Parker, Truman Chao, Susan Renati
Director: Jonathan Parker
Country: USA
UK: 83 mins
UK Certificate: PG contains mild sex references and language
UK Release Date: 2 January 2004


BARTLEBY... he was hired, but preferred not to work! He was fired, but preferred not to leave!

This absurd, Kafkaesque, highly stylized black comedy is a first-class satire on bureaucracy, alienated labor and divisions in modern society, and a surrealist poem about lost humanity and compassion. BARTLEBY transports Melville's classic short story, 'Bartleby the Scrivener' into a surreal contemporary nowhere world, where computer-generated office complexes sit perched above the freeways on lonely, grassy plateaus.

The Boss, played by the deadpan David Paymer, occupies a shabby ground floor office in one of these anonymous buildings. His firm handles municipal public records, and he hires Bartleby, a former employee in the postal service's dead-letter office, to help with the filing and verification of claims. Bartleby's co-workers are the flashy-dressing wiseguy wannabe Rocky (Joe Piscopo), the slovenly Ernie (Maury Chaykin) and the sexkittenish, alliteration-prone office manager, Vivian (Glenne Headly.)

As part of his quiet rebellion against the establishment, Bartleby begins to utter a simple but powerful refrain: 'I would prefer not to.' It is an issuance that wreaks havoc on the sane world of his workplace, a tiny institution founded on conformity and unmitigated compliance.

Tempers flare in the office as Bartleby continues to defy his aggravated boss (David Paymer) by refusing to perform even the simplest tasks. As his acts of non-compliance gain momentum, we begin to rally behind his mild incantation, and revel in the fitting commentary of an America where people are encouraged to apply for jobs they detest.

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