Perhaps the controversy (Calendar Letters, May 19) over the film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” might be resolved by considering that its being a comedy full of “compassion and rare humanity,” or a travesty “blatantly racist and paternalistic,” may not be mutually exclusive.

The film is not without its racist elements, but something else also is happening there that those who can’t see past their indignation may have missed.

Whatever the film maker’s political or moral limitations, by the end of the movie a good percentage of the audience has developed an admiring fondness for the Bushman protagonist. They want him to get home safely. They want him to be happy and, if that’s how he would have it, to live a life free of Coca-Cola bottles. They want him to thrive and remain wiser than we are.

If there is racism in the film, there’s also humanity. And for many of us, it’s the human values that dominate.



Los Angeles