Reviews | Spielberg’s “West Side Story”


For the publisher:

Re “The ‘West Side Story’ Remake We Didn’t Need,” by Yarimar Bonilla (guest essay, Sunday Review, December 19):

If Dr. Bonilla had taken the time to see the original film, she would understand the importance of the remake. I saw the original only a month ago. The 1961 version is a beautiful masterpiece, but with flaws in the offensive brownface and bad Spanish accents.

From an anthropological point of view, I understand Dr Bonilla’s position. However, as a first generation movie buff and Hispanic, I deeply appreciate Steven Spielberg’s version.

Even if this film fails at the box office or is snubbed at the Oscars, I believe it will survive as a major film from the post-Trump era of fear of immigrants. It’s a reminder that rampant racism can destroy (if we allow it) the love between two people of different cultures or races.

Omar A. Sandoval
New York

For the publisher:

If Shakespeare had been subjected to the precious literalism of Professor Yarimar Bonilla’s “West Side Story” review, his plays might not exist today. There is art and there is historical purity, and they don’t need to bow to each other.

David Lloyd Maron
Englewood, New Jersey

For the publisher:

Yarimar Bonilla aspires to an authentic Puerto Rican representation on the big screen. I don’t blame Ms Bonilla for her assessment that the latest version of Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s “West Side Story” missed the mark. But because they don’t have a Latino identity, it’s clear to me that she would never find their “West Side Story” up to par.

She insists that studios wishing to portray the Latino experience allow Latino directors and artists to create authentic Latin art. I hope so too, but his essay seems to suggest that no one can tell the story of another’s American experience if they don’t share the same identity, and that seems too narrow a rule for the art.

Let us not discourage powerful directors and writers from exploring and expressing the many facets of America, even if their attempt is only a shadow of real life experience.

Ari Gerstman
Washington

For the publisher:

Yarimar Bonilla’s opinion piece on the “West Side Story” remake misses the point. This is not and never was meant to be a documentary on Puerto Rican history or culture. This is an updated musical version by Spielberg to do more on PC of “Romeo and Juliet” which is set around 1950s gangs in New York City and nothing more – or less. And a good one at that.

Mike wallach
Wexford, Pennsylvania.

For the publisher:

Well done, Doctor Bonilla! And now one word: please tell Mr. Spielberg not to touch “Fiddler on the Roof”.

For the publisher:

Re “Where distributing hot soup and cocoa is about to get more difficult” (press article, December 15):

Much of the article leaves the impression that Newark, where I am mayor, is somewhat insensitive to the needs of our homeless population and discourages groups from helping them. This impression is diametrically opposed to the city’s proven efforts to care for our residents without a permanent address.

Our required license guarantees the safe handling and distribution of food for the protection of consumers. It is not bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.

The city is also asking these groups to consider not focusing their efforts at Peter Francisco Park across from Newark Penn Station, but partnering with our 23 homeless shelters and 55 pantries and soup kitchens throughout. the city. In this way, these groups can feed our homeless people in places where shelters, social services and mental health services are available.

We consider these neighborhood environments to be much safer for our homeless population as well. The area around Penn Station is congested with car and bus traffic, and has proven to be dangerous for people with mental and physical health issues.

Building homes, providing services, and protecting our unaddressed residents is a top priority for my administration, and unfortunately we believe this was not accurately reflected in the Times article.

For the publisher:

Re “Group Urges Support to Children Who Lost Caregiver to the Virus” (press article, December 10):

As the head of an organization that has spent over 520,000 hours supporting grieving children, I fear that advocacy and funding just for children bereaved because of Covid-19 could create an involuntary new caste of people. in mourning – children whose parents die of other causes.

During the pandemic, applications to our program increased by 22%, and Covid-19 was not the main cause. Many were the result of suicide, overdose or violence, echoing national trends. Limiting aid to 167,000 children bereaved by Covid-19 neglects the rest of the 5.3 million bereaved children in our country.

To be clear, I applaud the efforts of Covid Collaborative and frankly am grateful that childhood grief is finally being discussed as a significant public health issue. This is the first step. Now, I encourage the Covid Collaborative and its supporters to advance the overall goal of developing strategies and programs that can be scaled to ensure that all grieving children can live lives of opportunity.

Sara deren
Westport, Connecticut.
The writer is the founder and CEO of Experience Camps.

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