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Don't wanna read; don't wanna see. Bosnia and Rwanda--big yawn. The real problem is our boredom with anything outside ourselves. "More and more," says Tom Brueggemann, who books specialized fare for Loews Theatres, "Americans are obsessively and exclusively interested in American culture. Even college students now tend to like the same films everyone else likes. If they have niche tastes, it's not for Bergman and Bunuel but for Beavis and Butt-head." Intellectual connoisseurship? That was for gramps. Who wants to cram for a movie? Hey, dude: school's out forever.
O.K., dudes. Listen to Harvey Weinstein, who in a cagey or quixotic gesture will be distributing a host of foreign-language films this year. "We can't abandon these films," he says, "because if we do, there ain't gonna be no new Kurosawas, Fellinis or Truffauts. It'll all be homogenized American. And that's bad."
This news--limiting film culture to American moviemakers--is pretty bad. The good news is that there's a whole big world of movies that can challenge and exasperate and enthrall you. So pester your mall-house manager, hector the dweeb at the video-store counter, book a flight to the Toronto Film Festival. Just find a way to see what the rest of the movie world considers its precious art.
--With reporting by Georgia Harbison/New York