To the editors.
Although writing letters to publications may have a Cassandra-like tendency to create social complications, I feel I must comment upon Jonathan Rosenbaum’s disappointing film review of Bertrand Tavernier’s Beatrice [Guide to the Silver Screen, May 6].
This masterpiece, despite technical flaws, has a Van Gogh-like ability to touch upon subterranean yet “natural” truisms the contemporary society finds disturbing to confront.
Rosenbaum’s review epitomizes our present society’s apparent ability to live in the natural world, yet be removed from communication and comprehension of the natural realities within and around ourselves.
Tavernier engages in a philosophic humanism which sympathetically yet without sentimentality attempts to achieve a seamless interaction between thought and instinct. His film touches upon numerous issues which must be contemplated if we are not to degenerate into barbarism.
The soul of our western culture is constructed upon a concept of the thinking man of action, the “knightly ideal.” That this essence is epitomized in the woman Beatrice perhaps negates Mr. Rosenbaum’s assumption that this film is “as depressing as possible for no reason in particular.”
Jonathan Rosenbaum replies: