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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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"Do The Right Thing" Writer, Director Spike Lee Joins Ebertfest Lineup for the Film's 25th Anniversary

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois – Acclaimed director, producer and screenwriter Spike Lee joins the lineup at the 16th annual Ebertfest Film Festival in Champaign, Illinois, for a special 25th anniversary screening of his groundbreaking film "Do The Right Thing." The screening will take place on Friday, April 25, at the Virginia Theatre.

Roger Ebert, one of the first major critics to applaud "Do The Right Thing" after its release in 1989, gave the film 4 stars. He later praised Lee’s handling of racial themes saying: "I have been given only a few film-going experiences in my life to equal the first time I saw 'Do the Right Thing.' Most movies remain up there on the screen. Only a few penetrate your soul. In May of 1989 I walked out of the screening at the Cannes Film Festival with tears in my eyes. Spike Lee had done an almost impossible thing. He'd made a movie about race in America that empathized with all the participants. He didn't draw lines or take sides but simply looked with sadness at one racial flashpoint that stood for many others."

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Lee joins previously announced directors Steve James, who is bringing his documentary about Ebert, "Life Itself," to open the festival, and Oliver Stone who will celebrate the 25th anniversary of "Born on the Fourth of July," starring Tom Cruise. Also attending is actor, producer and comedian Patton Oswalt with "Young Adult", the 2011 Jason Reitman film in which Oswalt appeared alongside Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson.

This will be the second Ebertfest without its co-founder and namesake, who died last year on April 4.

"I'm honored and thrilled to host Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Steve James and Patton Oswalt at Ebertfest with their amazing films' said Chaz Ebert. "Roger wanted our film festival to continue and he had many discussions with me and festival director Nate Kohn  about how to keep it going. You won’t be disappointed. We have even more surprises in store."

The complete Ebertfest lineup will be announced soon. Festival passes are available now, and individual tickets go on sale April 1st. Go to Ebertfest.com for more information or to buy passes. Media contact: Robin Beaman | 312-208-1212 | rbeaman@beamanin.com, or Shawn Taylor | 312-371-6260 | tshawntaylor@yahoo.com.


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