Letter: Horror film

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Geoffrey Wansell is right to say that the English dislike thinking about the West murders because the case makes uncom- fortable connections between their private sexual culture and their shared public culture ("The shame we share with West", 5 January). In February 1996 the painter Alan David put up a show, at the London Post Gallery in Dean Street, of paintings dealing with these aspects of the murders. His patently serious work - in no way opportunistic or glamorizing - was taken down by the gallery owners, an act of censorship that as far as I could see received no press coverage. Shown in the heart of Soho, the paintings had clearly struck a raw nerve.

But does Mr Wansell imagine that a general-release feature film of his book could explore these areas without opportunism or glamorization? The economics of film make it the wrong medium to represent the murders while keeping a due respect for West's victims: it is bound to be a profoundly compromised project.

Julian Bell

Lewes, East Sussex

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