Letter: Aloof BFI needs Alan Parker

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The Independent Online
Sir: Is Colin McArthur really surprised that nobody has made a fuss about Alan Parker's appointment to the British Film Institute ("Warning: beware a narrow focus on the wide screen", 15 August)?

In truth, the average cinema-goer, and indeed the average "intellectual" probably couldn't care less. Relatively few people have heard of the BFI and even fewer have any idea what it actually does. It doesn't help that the BFI has spent periods of the past 20 years indulging a penchant for rarefied, academic debate which has tended to overshadow the organisation's more pragmatic achievements.

Alan Parker may or may not be an anti-intellectual xenophobe; this is a matter of opinion. But if he can open up a rather aloof organisation to public scrutiny and promote it to a wider audience then perhaps the BFI will end up being as popular as Alan Parker's films have been with British audiences.

JOHN DUNN

London NW1

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