New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


A Meaningful Light

October 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Open Letter to Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times

by Christine Baniewicz

Dear Kenneth,

A cold wind bore down College Avenue in Berkeley last week as I waited in a long line outside of the Rialto Cinema. I shivered. The queue was stuffed with middle-aged patrons for the 7 o’clock showing of a French comedy that got excellent reviews: The cultural event of the year! I was going to see Tears of Gaza instead.

My date was running late and as I drew closer to the ticket counter, the swirling words from your review knocked around inside my brain. Frustrating, poorly executed, graphic, disturbing. Six months ago I lived above the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp, teaching a theatre course to Palestinian actors. My love for those students and their work burns like a blue flame down the center of my chest…

But I don’t live there anymore. Now I live in Oakland, working 40 hours a week at a manufacturing company in San Leandro and when I clock out, I want to see something beautiful, affirming, well-made. Especially when I’m slapping down $10.50 for it at an art-house cinema. (more…)