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Big Budget Bullies

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Dear editor,

Jonathan Rosenbaum's "In Defense of Non-Masterpieces" [April 17] fails to mention an important factor relevant to the lack of foreign influence in film and society's trend of preevaluation: the absolute glut of studio films in recent years. Each year, more and more films come out of Hollywood backed by the dollars to buy mass-media coverage. With five or six opening every weekend, distributors and theaters can't afford to gamble on doubling that number with imports. Americans tend to judge films by their "cultural relevance" anyway; "good" and "worth seeing" are just code phrases to gauge how talked-about a film will be tomorrow at the office. And as the average workweek continues to lengthen, Americans feel obligated to spend their couple free hours (and nine dollars) keeping up with office chitchat rather than spending time alone with Kiarostami or Chabrol. As long as advertising continues to determine which films are relevant, quality in film will become decreasingly important to Americans; and when you don't care about quality, you're not likely to bother with subtitles.

James Perazzo

Hyde Park

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