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I am writing to castigate you for reviewing any of the Filmfest DC offerings. I don’t know if your movie reviewers have ever liked a film, or admitted as much in a review, but their synopses have guided my celluloid expenditures rather reliably over the years, and I thank you.

However, given the near impossibility of the common masses’ getting tickets to Filmfest, reviews of this event’s offerings appear as the gloatings of the well-connected elite and only stir up anger at the cultural stranglehold the distribution monopolies hold over the moviegoing public in America.

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Last year, I was short-listed along with a bunch of disgruntled Russians who had come hours earlier like myself to get tickets for a Russian film, but was told it was sold out. In line they decried how seeing foreign films in D.C. was as hard as in Soviet Moscow: “In Russia we had Sovfilm and Lenfilm; here, it’s Tristar and Miramax who decide what crap we are allowed to see. But at least in Russia we could bribe a moviehouse operator to get in to see the occasional Western film.” The Cineplex Odeon manager only laughed at us when we offered double and triple the price for a seat.

This year the demand to see Filmfest DC’s offerings seemed even greater, and we’ve lost two more theaters to CVS. Paris within the Periphique (Beltway), by contrast, has the same geographic area as Washington, D.C., and 300 movie theaters. Choice is broad, from repertory and Third World ethnic to the newest formulaic special-effects morality plays from Hollywood.

But most of Paris’ 2 million inhabitants want to live in that national capital. D.C. continues to hemorrhage demographically, politically, structurally, and culturally.

Shaw