Letter: Art versus life

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NEARLY all "art" cinemas in Britain operate through charitable trusts with considerable advantages over the private sector, such as lower business rates ("A tear-jerker at the movies", Business, 5 April). Most receive grants from the British Film Institute as well as subsidies from local authorities, regional arts organisations and EU funds. In effect, the non-mainstream sector is already the beneficiary of considerable public subsidy. It is hardly surprising that the multiplexes have to operate in a far more market-forces driven manner.

If the BFI is serious about its statutory remit to encourage the art of film, then it should offer multiplexes a similar financial incentive for any foreign language films they show. After all, a glance at the listings of our nationwide "art" cinemas shows that they too frequently show a considerable quantity of films which have also played the multiplexes, but nobody seems to comment on this wasteful and unnecessary use of their facilities.

One should also bear in mind that a considerable proportion of "commercial" movies are in reality, commercial failures.

Dave Godin

Sheffield, S Yorks