To the editors:

Film is surely the most effective modern propaganda tool as well as the most readily accessible artform, when we add movies on TV, cable, and VCR to those at the movie theater. I would suggest then that high quality film criticism is vital to our need to understand our lives and thereby possibly change them, and in social terms, at least as important as clean air and water. In Chicago we are fortunate to have a couple of decent places to see major foreign and international independent films, and we have the opportunity to attend three major festivals. But without intelligent criticism which answers questions we might not have known we needed to ask, much is lost to the viewers, and we might fail to see many films absolutely vital to our psychic and social growth (along with the pure joy they bring). I’m a much more knowledgeable film viewer now than I was a few years ago, simply by reading Jonathan Rosenbaum’s reviews in the Reader each week, and many other people must be as well. As far as I’m concerned, Rosenbaum is easily the most perceptive, clearheaded and politically astute writer of any column on any subject in this town. His conspicuous lack of a puny (i.e., needing to be bolstered at all times) male ego along with a truly radical social perspective, provides him with a sure basis for the insight and analysis he brings to every film, whether a U.S. commercial, popular film, or a film more likely to appeal initially to a film-sensitive audience. Since a discerning public is vital to the continued support of venues for excellent films from all over the world, those of us who love film have a lot to thank him for. (Stay wherever you are, Jonathan.)

A fan