For me the task is much easier. First of all, I've spent a very long time working in the dream factory called Hollywood. It's been my privilege—but also my daily business—to participate in constructing and dramatizing what those of us involved always hoped were meaningful stories, and putting them on the screen. Because I've always believed that my work should convey my personal values, as an author I don't have to look far to find storylines to illustrate points I wish to make. Happily, certain films that are a part of my own personal résumé are also part of the "collective unconscious" of a great many Americans of a certain age. It's my great good fortune that many of these films—stories such as Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and To Sir, with Love—are still familiar today, thanks to home video and repeated play on television. Thus they give you and me the possibility of a common bond and a common frame of reference, and I want to use them that way.

But perhaps more important, as someone wishing to make a comment or two about contemporary life and values, I don't have to dig through libraries or travel to exotic lands to arrive at a view of our modern situation refracted through the lens of the preindustrial world, or the uncommercialized, unfranchised, perhaps even unsanitized—and therefore supposedly more "authentic"—perspective of the Third World. Very simply, this is because that "other" world, as alien as if separated by centuries in time, is the one from which I came.


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