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Cartel Land

The film provides a fascinating, on-the-ground account of people struggling with situations that range from challenging to horrific.

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Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

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Ballad of Narayama

"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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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Ebertfest Prepares to Unfold as a 'Tribute to Roger'

With Ebertfest only one day away, excitement and anticipation for the 16th annual festival is rapidly beginning to build. 

Over at The Chicago Sun-Times Laura Emerick has penned a lovely piece about the festival, writing "Ebertfest, the annual film festival founded by Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, has presented many marquee attractions over its 16-year run: Oscar-winning actors Tilda Swinton (twice), Christine Lahti and Cliff Robertson (who piloted his own plane to the festival); cinematographer-director Haskell Wexler (twice); directors Ang Lee, Werner Herzog (twice), Norman Jewison, Neil LaBute, Richard Linklater (twice), Errol Morris, Bob Rafelson, John Sayles, Paul Schrader and Bertrand Tavenier."

Emerick further goes onto suggest that this year "promises to top all of that with appearances by two cinema giants, Spike Lee and Oliver Stone. Each director will attend Ebertfest with films marking their 25th anniversaries: “Do the Right Thing” (which brought Lee an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay) and “Born on the Fourth of July” (for which Stone won his second best-director Oscar)."

With a lineup as diverse as they come—from Jason Reitman's Young Adult to Jem Cohen's Museum Hours—this year's Ebertfest is undoubtedly shaping up to be one of the best yet. 

As Emerick notes, "'Roger and I used to have a running joke,' Chaz Ebert said. 'On the ride back home to Chicago, we’d say to each other, ‘This was the BEST festival EVER.’ And this year, I’m sure Roger would say, ‘Can you believe this lineup?’ I can see him saying it and watching the joy on his face. He would be ecstatic.” 

While Roger may not be sitting in his customary brown, rugged chair located at the back of the Virginia theater, he'll certainly be with us in spirit and in the movies.

Emerick, who previously served as arts editor for the Sun-Times, is now the digital content editor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. You may read the rest of her excellent piece here

For all information about this year's Ebertfest, please visit their website

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