I find these attempts to discern the goals and impact of _Saving Private Ryan_ very interesting and fruitful, but I would point out that the two are often if not usually discrete: we may be able to point to evidence that a film was trying to convince us of some particular perspective (i.e., war is always an evil, war is a necessary evil, war is unnecessary, etc.), but someone else can take the very same details and muster them to show that a quite different argument is being made. Of course, Hollywood films often justify themselves by trying to imply some such message, usually a harmless one, whereas aesthetes will insist that good art has no business making arguments, and Marxists will insist that some such 'ideological' message is largely unavoidable. But even when an argument is made quite explicitly by a film, the very making of the argument may have exactly the opposite effect merely by virtue of being expressed. I will offer an example from a film I taught recently and have also taught frequently in the past. When we watch _Imitation of Life_, we may feel the film urges racial tolerance or that it is a plea for racial segregation and isolation. The film tries hard to frame the 'black' daughters attempts at passing as white in negative terms, but one can hardly say that the character's perception that society treats whites better was entirely wrong--which the film also underwrites. David Hare wrote a lecture on playwriting many years ago, and in this lecture, he points out that you may write a very fine play on why the Nazi's were evil, and nevertheless someone may come out of the theater saying "Those fascists really had the right idea!" One can say the contradiction is a failure on the part of the film's creators, or that it is part of ideology, or that it is simply part of communication, since we can't always count on others sharing our code or frame of reference. I thought these distinctions might be helpful in this discussion. Sincerely, Edward R. O'Neill UCLA General Education Program/Sociology Dept. ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.