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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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Ebert on the meaning of movies and criticism

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From Roger Ebert's remarks last night at the DGA Awards, where he was granted an Honorary Lifetime Membership in the Directors' Guild of America. They were delivered by Chaz Ebert:

Of course sometimes my reviews have not been favorable. Robert Altman once told me, "If you never wrote a negative review, what would your positive reviews mean?"

"That's true," I said.

"Unfortunately," Altman said, "in my case, all of your negative reviews have been mistaken." [...]

We are born into a box of space and time, and the movies come closer than any other art form in giving us the experience of walking in someone else's shoes. They allow us an opportunity to experience what it would be like to live within another gender, race, religion, nationality, or period of time. They expand us, they improve us, and sometimes they ennoble us. They also thrill us and make us laugh and cry, and for that gift, and for this honor tonight, I am very grateful.

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Full speech, and news story, here.

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