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Are Hollywood and high art still compatible?

20 September 2011 7:31 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Tinseltown has majestic monuments of the silent era, reminding us of a time when American film and art co-existed. Is that golden age gone forever?

The detritus of artistic ambition lies all over Hollywood like a wreckage of broken dreams. Grauman's Egyptian theatre on Hollywood Boulevard may sound like just another tourist stop, between the Walk of Fame and Universal City, but it is so much stranger than that. The Egyptian opened in 1922 as a temple of imagination and aspiration. Meticulously restored and now used to show independent films by the American Cinematheque, it oozes a serious attitude to cinema.

The Egyptian theatre defies all the cliches of Hollywood vulgarity. Yes, it is over the top – very – but not in the crass, tawdry way beloved by European stereotypes of American culture. On the contrary: it speaks of passion, idealism, and sincerity. Like the Neoclassicists of the 18th century, Sid Grauman »

- Jonathan Jones

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