From: Tony Williams
The discussion is getting very polarised. There is much to be said on both
sides - discussion of American film and more information about European
cinema. As Edwin has pointed out, the problem is a cultural one in the
USA. Unless you are fortunate enough to live in New York or any of the
major urban centers access to European and art movies is limited, if not
Recently, Kerasotes Theater decided to close down the very popular Varsity
Video Store in Carbondale, a rural enclave. The current manager stocked
many European, classic, and Art movies listening to public demand. Despite a
campaign to save it, the place is now closing down and the only equivalent
will be a large chain store which includes Japanese animation and nintendo
among its limited stock of "Foreign Films."
In Britain (before the pernicious spread of cable, satellite and other
Murdoch-influenced stations running mainly popular U.S. works) the BBC and
the now sadly diominished Channel 4 provided very much of a repertory access
to classic American and foreign films. For those living outside London,
television was very much our repertory movie theater.
If American television had more of a public service ethos, it would
screen these films as a cultural service. Unfortunately, it does not.
The marketplace rules and even TNT is now no longer showing many of the
classic works Ted Turner purchased.
Perhaps, the only solution to this dilemma would be a well-funded
public television station (bearing littleresemblance to PBS as presently
constituted) funded nationally and running classic film and television
programs from the wealth of the American and foreign cultural heritage.
Foreign films would be shown in their original language forms, original
screen ratio, AND uncensored.
But, as we know the time is not right. Mr. Jarvik & Co would immediately
rally the clarion calls of the marketplace as the final arbiter and protest
against national funding of "elitist" programmes. This is a very mean-
spirited time in which anti-intellectualism rules in a country which
spends less on culture than others. Until this situation changes, the
parochial attitude of discussion focussing upon "Gump", Tarantino (good
point in your mail -Don), and totally American products will unfortunately