Max Berghouse writes: This will be the first time I think I have ever disagreed with you. The recommendations in your post below are things which while desirable in themselves, are out of temper with the times.
Public expectation is broadly in line with the view that expenditures have to
be lessened – except of course expenditures that concern some particular
interest group to which they belong. People are generally irrational.
It really is not so long ago, and certainly within our lifetimes, that film was
regarded as totally evanescent and hardly worthy of more consideration. Many
people would now see the error of this, but film remains in practically every
perspective very much a minority interest. The danger of the suggestions below
which is basically 110% solution to the existing problem is that even less will
be achieved than currently.
It is simply absurd to suggest that in the general understanding of people,
including intellectuals, that film as a resource, once excluding entertainment,
is at the same level of cultural heft as the contents of the National Gallery
and the National Library. There is a quite clear pecking order which puts
painting at the top, followed quite some distance behind by sculpture and then
further down by literature (I mean valuable printed material and not merely the
One of the really important aspects of curatorship is the creative ability to
let go. In fact I think it is one of the most important aspects of curatorship
and the evidence of the past is that far too much of worth is disposed of. That
seems to me to be the problem in relation to our film archive in that we really
have too much material without clear understanding of what ought to be saved
ought to be let go.
I make this comment as a person whom you know the cares desperately about
cinema in all its manifestations. My real fear is in relation to the proposals
that it will be viewed by "insiders" like politicians as simply
another vehicle for more jobs for the boys. Sinecures and self-seeking are altogether
too relevant in relation to pretty much every aspect of government involvement