Dear Chi-Reader,

I just finished reading (on the Internet) Lisa Alspector’s bit of heavy-handed male-bashing in the thinly veiled guise of a film review (The Fifth Element), and all the way from Hong Kong felt that a reply was fully in demand.

Not wanting to burst any B-cup bubbles, the crux of a film review is supposed to be one of description and edification. After reading Ms. Alspector’s capsule critique, the only thing I could say for sure about The Fifth Element is that I wouldn’t want to sit through it with Ms. Alspector. I’ve seen the film now, and can easily admit that there was much to find missing in what many fans of both sci-fi and Besson’s work were expecting. The least of these shortcomings, however, was how much makeup the lead actress had on from one scene to the next.

If Lisa can be bothered to read this, I’d just like to ask: why not pick on another film–out of the countless dozens produced each year (foreign and domestic)–which is purely and grossly amok with female exploitation? Are you especially concerned about the corruption of heretofore sensitive and chivalrous male audience members? Does the politico-sexual outlook of the Star Wars fan club demographic keep you up at night? Did you just have a rough breakup with some French guy who looks like Gary Oldman but with Bruce Willis’s manners?

In any event, the Chicago Reader has always seemed a more reliable forum for the arts (preview, review, documentation, whatever) than to allow Ms. Alspector’s kind of one-sided “agenda-without-a-cause” ranting. My own capsule review: less feminism, more criticism. If Ms. Alspector feels compelled to write ostensibly art-related pieces like this, let her get her own on-line soapbox.

T.F. Shaw

Hong Kong