A work of almost breathtaking visual beauty that manages to ravish the heart while dazzling the eye simultaneously, neither at the expense of the other.
"Life Itself," the documentary about Roger, will debut at the Sundance Film Festival in less than a month, on January 19 at 5pm. There is a certain irony in a film about a film critic being subject to review. But Roger had faith in Steve James' abilities as a documentarian to bring his memoir, "Life Itself," to the big screen. I am looking forward to seeing it. I suspect that it will elicit both tears and smiles from me and my family, and that more than anything I will wish that Roger was there to see it with me. He supported Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute as a venue for independent American cinema right from the beginning, and it seems only fitting that it premieres there.
And in a novel twist, they have made it possible for you to join in the debut, streaming the film in the privacy of your own home the same day it is shown at Sundance. You can also take part in the Q & A that follows. The filmmakers have launched a campaign to raise money to complete the post production of the film and need your help. If you are able, please click here to make a donation for yourself or as a gift to someone.
Steve James and the team at Kartemquin wanted to involve all the people who loved Roger and his work. So give if you can and be a part of this project.
It is difficult for me to believe that this time last year Roger was making his Top Ten list of movies for 2012 and already speculating that "Argo" would win the Oscar for best picture of the year. I miss him so. I send my thanks to all of you who continue to read Rogerebert.com and who write from time to time to tell us about your favorite Roger reviews or sayings or blogs.
But as each day passes I think more than ever of what he said about kindness and joy, and in today's world a reminder is needed even more, so here goes:
"Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, or circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."
I wish you joy.
Merry Christmas and Peace and Joy in the New Year,
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A note of thanks from Chaz Ebert to the wonderful people behind "Life Itself."