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Hollywood Glasnost

July 03, 1988

How about a whiff of American glasnost in Hollywood?

If Moscow can free its film makers from decades of Stalinist shackles and release films like "Commisar," why can't Hollywood reject the pat dictates of commercialism and make meaningful films that tackle the problems of American society?

Where are the films that confront issues such as racism, homelessness, pollution, corruption in business and government?

I find it hard to see how the American film industry isn't toeing an American party line when they churn out films with the same monotonous and destructive themes of sex, violence and inane comedy. Isn't there a safe formula at work here that won't allow American film producers to risk offending advertisers and the corporate conglomerates that control the major studios?

Alexander Askoldov, the director of "Commissar," says that no film could be made unless the Soviet bureaucracy "approved every stage of the film." I submit that no film would be approved by a mainstream Hollywood producer if it didn't fit into the established mold of mindless escapism or Rambo anti-Soviet bashing.

That the major studios routinely reject scripts that attempt to deal with socially relevant issues is certainly a well known fact. They also won't hesitate to excise any film footage they deem inappropriate for general viewing.

Americans must face facts. Censorship does exist in the film industry in America. The general public has no more say so over what they watch than a Soviet audience. Control is control whether it's done in the name of dictatorship or democracy.

EARL HUTCHINSON

Inglewood

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