In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

Jia Tolentino

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Mad MonkJenny Diski
Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close
The New Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 963 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 316 85905 2
Show More
Nobody’s Perfect: Writings from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Anthony Lane.
Picador, 752 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 0 330 49182 2
Show More
Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 314 pp., £13, December 2002, 1 85984 391 3
Show More
Show More

I think it is two years since I’ve been to the cinema. This is something of a mystery to me, like love gone wrong: in fact, it is love gone wrong. Was the love misguided in the first place, have I simply aged out of the way of love, or has the beloved altered beyond all recognition? Naturally, lovers whose love is depleted are inclined to think the last: it makes them feel better, less fickle, less hopeless, that the loss is not their own fault. But it’s always best to doubt such self-serving conclusions. Generally, things are one’s fault, unless it can be positively proved otherwise. Anyway, sit me in front of Bringing Up Baby, The Wild Bunch or The Conversation and I’m ravished. It’s not the films I love that I’ve fallen out of love with.

So, the cinema. I don’t go any more. Not for lack of opportunity: there is an excellent cinema barely five minutes away with multiple screens and a grown-up programming policy. I’d be free to go in the afternoon all alone (an old movie-going treat) or in company of an evening. But I don’t. I notice a film that I think might be good, and then shake my head at the idea of actually going to see it. The risk of disappointment is too great: I would rather wait until it comes out on VHS or DVD and buy it or rent it from MovieMail. That way, when it turns out to be, at best, only half-good, I won’t have got cold, or wet, or cross with myself for being too demanding or not demanding enough. What a way to be a film-lover.

Films were everything to me in my teens. I’d bunk off school to get to the first afternoon showing of the first day of or Pierrot le Fou, hunkering down in the red plush seats of the Academy cinema, along with, though at a proper distance from, a couple of severe film buffs, a woman in dark glasses trying to distract herself from an affair gone wrong, an Oxford Street shopper in from the rain and a pervert or two hoping for some Continental movie action. I spent whole days and nights at the NFT catching up on what I’d missed in previous decades (Bogart weekends, seven hours of Les Vampires, an all-night marathon screening of the Apu trilogy), and every Hollywood musical and melodrama shown on TV was another opportunity to fill in the gaps. Watching movies of any kind in any way was the purest pleasure. Good, almost good, bad. I dreamed that one day it would be possible to own films and watch them at home. Be careful what you wish for.

Partly my reluctance to go to the movies comes from a newish but unshakeable sense of the absurdity of sitting in a darkened room with dozens or hundreds of other people, all facing in the same direction. I imagine the roof being taken off the cinema and a baffled child giant looking down on us and wondering what kind of thing the human race could be. But minor psychoses aside, the terrible thing is that I don’t miss going to the cinema. Audiences chatter, eat, drink, wander about and are reliably over six foot when they sit in front of me – it was always so, but now either they do it worse and taller, or my tolerance threshold has sunk to sea level. What I do miss however is wanting to go to the cinema. Only very rarely in the last decade or so (the reissue of Nights of Cabiria, Happiness, The Usual Suspects) have I felt that the movie I was seeing was worth putting up with the irritation and effort of going out. Am I feeling the way people feel as they get older about a world that no longer seems to be addressed to them? Movies, after all, aren’t made with me in mind any more. Do I just resent that, or does it really make for poorer movies?

There is one reliable cinematic pleasure that remains to me: I indulge in reading about movies with undiminished enthusiasm. David Thomson has written about his disappointment with contemporary cinema, about how the franchise movie and the blockbuster are killing Hollywood and his hopes, and because I am one of the legion of Thomson’s devoted fans, it cheers me up to hear it. If he thinks so then it’s not just me feeling jaded: maybe there is an objective difference (or else we are of a similar age and therefore suffering from the same nostalgia syndrome). In a review (in the New Republic) of Anthony Lane’s book Nobody’s Perfect, Thomson, aged sixtyish, compares a non-exhaustive list of the movies available for Pauline Kael to review in the 1970s with those reviewed in the New Yorker by Lane, aged between 30 and 40. Here’s his 1970s list: Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather (1 & 2), The Conversation, McCabe and Mrs Miller, California Split, Nashville, Chinatown, The Long Goodbye, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, Carrie, The Fury, The French Connection, The Exorcist, Klute, The Parallax View, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Annie Hall, American Graffiti, Star Wars, Harold and Maude, Two-Lane Blacktop, Five Easy Pieces, The King of Marvin Gardens, Badlands. These are the movies reviewed by Lane that he lists: Indecent Proposal, Sleepless in Seattle, Speed, Wolf, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Braveheart, The Bridges of Madison County, Crash, Con Air, Contact, Titanic, Godzilla, Ronin, Meet Joe Black, The Phantom Menace, Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 2.

A couple of interesting films in the second list, and a couple of uninteresting ones in the first. It’s not quite fair because Thomson has left some seriously good movies out of the later list (for example, LA Confidential, The Usual Suspects, Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould), and a few others (Nil by Mouth, The English Patient, The Truman Show, Shallow Grave) that someone might feel it was worth crossing the road for; but in general his argument that Lane’s evident talent has had little to work on and is condemned to dissipate itself in being wickedly witty about lousy films holds true. (Not that wickedly witty doesn’t provide great pleasure. On Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal: ‘The whole thing needs a leading man with snap and vim, instead of which it gets Woody Harrelson. Admittedly, it’s an awful part, which calls for little more than unfocused emoting, but then Woody trying to emote looks like anyone else trying to go to sleep. At one point, he has to give a lecture on the inspiring joys of architecture, rising to the contention that “even a brick wants to be something.” He should know.’) Thomson’s point, in his review, is avuncular, if a little smug: Lane, who has claimed Thomson as a mentor, is suffering from being born too late.

Thomson is besotted with the cinema: Lane would be if he could. As it is, he is largely obliged as a film reviewer to keep his pen poised for deadly lines (on The Bridges of Madison County: ‘There’s a hunk of baloney devoted to Africa, all about “the cohabitation of man and beast”, but worse is to come: at one point … Clint Eastwood wears a pair of sandals. Whatever for? You don’t see the Dalai Lama packing a .44 Magnum’). As if he knows the world of contemporary film isn’t enough to detain him, a third of Lane’s book consists of literary essays, and another third is devoted to profiles of a few directors mostly long gone and others not notable for their movie credits – Karl Lagerfeld, Walker Evans, Ernest Shackleton and Lego. In Thomson’s view film ought to be enough to detain a film-loving writer, but it isn’t. Perhaps Lane is merely keeping his options open and, who knows, doesn’t want to be a writer exclusively on film. The diversity is admirable, but it blurs the focus of Lane’s book.

Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film, first published almost thirty years ago and now in a revised fourth edition, is constantly proclaimed a cult book, and movie-lovers await new editions in the way Star Wars fans anticipate back stories. It functions like a prototype of hypertext. You check out one entry and find you have to follow up others each of which gets you fanning the pages to find further references. Try ‘Cary Grant’ and see if you can manage not to read about Hawks, Hitchcock, Hepburn, Mae West, Capra; except that having got to the Hawks entry, you are deflected on to Elisha Cook, Montgomery Clift, Boris Karloff, and each of those will send you off on another mystery tour … I have spent whole days leafing through names and chasing the shadows disappearing through Thomson’s pages. If someone could only make it into a film, then cinema would have achieved its apotheosis. Actually, Thomson himself has already turned it into a novel, Suspects (1985), which pretends to be a biographical dictionary of an array of fictional characters from great movies: the likes of Richard Blaine and Ilsa Lund, George Bailey, Travis Bickle and Norman Bates, who turn out, in the interstices of the entries, to have entangled lives and a dark plot all of their own. If only Howard Hawks wasn’t dead and had made a movie of Suspects we could all die happy and go to deconstruction heaven.

Though the characters in the Biographical Dictionary would claim not to be fictional, they are utterly at the mercy of Thomson’s wayward and wonderful opinions and his ornate and seductive prose. Philip French considers Thomson’s prose too baroque and his opinions not disinterested enough for his taste. But if you were in the business, you would be furious at being left out of the Dictionary, even though the risks of inclusion are great. Thomson quotes from Lars von Trier’s third manifesto:

There is only one excuse for having to go through, and force others to go through, the hell that is the creative process of film. The carnal pleasure of that split second in the cinemas, when the projector and the loudspeakers, in unison, allow the illusion of sound and motion to burst forth, like an electron abandoning its orbit to generate light, and create the ultimate: a miraculous surge of life.

Thomson concludes: ‘We could note several things from this: that one man’s carnal ecstasy may be another’s imagination; that sometimes there are no excuses; and that the language of self-inducing cinematic exultation is oddly akin to the rhetoric of fascism.’ Sheer joy. And as for Roberto Benigni’s god-help-us-all Oscar-winning La Vita è Bella:

Despite the enormous effect Bambi had on me as a child, I have had difficulty digesting Thumperism – I mean, the philosophy that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all … There are candidates for honest bad-mouthing, reaching from one’s relatives to the alleged leaders of your world. And there is Roberto Benigni.

In spite of loathing Benigni’s previous efforts Thompson would have been inclined to omit him from the Dictionary, but:

Then came the thing called La Vita è Bella. I often echo that sentiment myself, but if there is anything likely to mar bella-ness it is not so much Hitlerism (I am against it), which is fairly obvious, as Benigni-ism, which walks away with high praise, box office and Oscars. I despise Life Is Beautiful, especially its warmth, sincerity and feeling, all of which I believe grow out of stupidity. Few events so surely signalled the decline of the motion picture as the glory piled on that odious and misguided fable. I am sure Mr Benigni is kind to children and animals. I am prepared to accept that he is a model citizen and a good companion. Still, Life Is Beautiful is a disgrace.

Thomson’s views should be available to any off-planeters who happen to find themselves viewing la vita through Benigni’s sickly viewfinder.

Not that my devotion to Thomson’s Dictionary depends only on those of his opinions I agree with. The Piano, a film I abominated, ‘is a great film in an age that has nearly forgotten such things … The sense of place, of spirit and of silence is Wordsworthian … No one has better caught the mix of sensitivity and ferocity in the human imagination.’ An imaginary argument ensues on reading this, which Thomson wins (even though he’s quite wrong) because he loves films better and is a more generous person than I am.

French is right: Thomson has no distance from film. He responds directly to what he sees and puts it down on paper. It sounds most of the time as if he really minds. That’s what makes reading him so exciting. Here’s where Lane’s excellent wit and easy prose fall short of Thomson’s passion. When Lane writes of his admiration for Titanic, you do a double-take, and instead of having an argument, pass on, shaking your head and wondering if his other judgments were as solid as they seemed to be. If Thomson had liked Titanic (he didn’t), I’d have bothered to stop for a fight.

In Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film, Peter Wollen makes no mention of Titanic, and one would rather hesitate to mention it to him. He writes as an academic, which does not mean he loves film any less than Thomson, but does mean that his love isn’t as evident. His essays sometimes cover the same ground as those of the other two, but he is not doing the same thing. When he writes of Howard Hawks it is not with the perplexed adoration of the Thomson who would take ten Hawks movies to his desert island and let the rest of the directors go hang, even though Hawks’s macho values worry him: ‘a moviemaker for boys never quite grown up’. Wollen writes an informed and magisterial article about why it took so long for the mandarins of film criticism to admit Hawks to ‘the canon’, but it’s much less a piece about Hawks’s movies and their understated qualities than a historical overview of the debates between critics writing about Hawks.

Similarly, Wollen’s essay on Hitchcock is written ‘against compartmentalisation’ with the purpose of discrediting the idea that the director’s oeuvre can be neatly divided into his English and American periods. He argues that in 1919 Hitchcock was working for the American-owned and managed studio Famous Players-Lasky and that in his Hollywood years a class-conscious Englishness is central to his work. You feel that it is a contribution to a debate about Hitchcock that you haven’t been part of but which must have been going on somewhere, between critics, and Wollen argues his case efficiently, but it doesn’t make you rush to your video shelf to check the movies out. He writes careful, well-ordered pieces: on Blade Runner and its relation to economic writings on the World City Hypothesis, or on the importance of the canon and the necessity of it being rewritten from time to time. ‘Looking back on those years, I can see now that “auteurism” was the last major and explicit attempt to rewrite the film canon.’

We are in a different realm of film-writing from both Lane and Thomson: a world where a debate is going on between cognoscenti far away from Hollywood, even though Wollen has the Chair of the Department of Film, Television and New Media at UCLA, and even though he, of the three writers, is the only film-maker. Yet he is the one who seems to have kept his gloves on: the other two appear to have rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty. It’s a different way, perhaps, of loving movies, but he never, as Thomson does often and Lane does sometimes, finds himself day-dreaming his way through the screen into the movie, like Buster Keaton does in Sherlock Jr. Wollen keeps his place in the auditorium; but then someone’s got to stay there and keep watch.

Thomson, on the other hand, for all that he might tick Lane off for dangerous slickness, is himself sometimes at the mercy of his own writing talent. Mind you, his apparent deviations from the point have a mad method to them. He riffs with an almost crazed meticulousness about Hoagy Carmichael as Cricket in To Have and Have Not: ‘He sits at a piano that manages to be set aslant to everything else in the world. He has white pants (they might be cream or ivory) with a dark stripe in them, and it could be crimson or dark blue against the cream (this is Martinique light). And in the shirt there is the same pattern of vertical dark striping on a pale ground, except that the stripes are twice as regular.’ But from that beginning he gets to the heart and soul of Hawks’s movie. He rants about Madonna; after a list of her various film involvements up to Dangerous Games, he writes: ‘The burden does not lighten … then all the ads said she was Evita – no matter that she managed hardly any emotional involvement, and again seemed incapable of understanding the nature of acting. Still, nothing before had been as fatuous as The Next Best Thing.’ He rambles about Kim Basinger: ‘I don’t always “get” Kim Basinger. I mean, why did she ever buy that small town in Georgia, and why is she virtually the only actress who’s ever been sued successfully for getting out of a movie (Boxing Helena)? Why marry Alec Baldwin? Is she, even, that beautiful? Well, the paper didn’t catch fire, so I’ll press on.’

Thomson refuses to line up with the Hitchcock devotees (Lane among them):

The method, despite its brilliance, is equally private and restrictive. To plan so much that the shooting becomes a chore is an abuse not just of actors and crew, but of cinema’s predilection for the momentary. It is, in fact, the style of an immense, premeditative artist – a Bach, a Proust or a Rembrandt. And beside those masters, Hitchcock seems an impoverished inventor of thumbscrews who shows us the human capacity for inflicting pain, but no more. Such precision can only avoid seeming overbearing and misanthropic if it is accompanied by creative untidiness. In the last resort, his realised blueprints affirm film’s yearnings for doubt and open endings.

Contentious? Irritating? Dubious? Yes. What a relief to have something gristly to gnaw on. Thomson urges Lane to give up his Atlantic-hopping and move full-time to America if he really wants to be ‘more than a brilliant movie reviewer’: ‘It is the best advice I can offer. And I think it might be fun – as in fun to run a newspaper, the sport that made Charles Foster Kane famous, and that destroyed him.’ The romanticism oozes out of Thomson, but I see him more as a mad movie monk, huddled decade after decade over his ever-expanding Dictionary, scratching his illuminated prose in the flickering light, murmuring to himself about distant memories, cackling at his own jokes and wondering why there is such a shortage of young fellows willing to join him in the monastery.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Letters

Vol. 25 No. 5 · 6 March 2003

For many baby boomers who have loved and still love film, Jenny Diski (LRB, 6 February) has described perfectly the weary rite of passage from venturing to the cinema to resigning ourselves to ‘seeing it’ at home in our favourite rocking-chair. The next time Diski finds herself watching a rented movie in front of the telly, she should take heart. We are still big: it’s only the pictures that got small.

Jim Valentine
Woodland Hills, California

Jenny Diski not only hasn't been to a cinema in two years, she doesn't seem to have seen or even been aware of any films other than anglophone ones. To read her piece you'd think that cinema is Hollywood and that since today's Hollywood is crap it follows that today's cinema is crap.

Colin Tucker
London N1

send letters to

The Editor
London Review of Books
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address and a telephone number

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.