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Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

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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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Ebertfest photoblog: Day 3

Meta: Writer-director Charlie Kaufmann ("Synecdoche, New York," right) watches David Bordwell (left) take a photo of the "Far-Flung Correspondents" panel (center, rear).

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Roger Ebert introduces the " Far-Flung Correspondents" panel, moderated by Omer Mozaffer (Pakistan via Chicago, right).

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Mo' correspondents: Ali Arikan (Istanbul), Michael Mirasol (Philippines), Omar Moore (London via Chicago).

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Even more correspondents: Gerardo Valero (Mexico City), Grace Wang (China via Toronto), Seongyong Cho (South Korea).

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Chaz Ebert welcomes another audience to the Virginia Theater.

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The audience welcomes Japanese director Yojiro Tokita after a screening of his Oscar-winning comedy-weepie, "Departures."

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David Bordwell, perpetual expert Ebertfest panelist -- which is something you should try saying six times real fast. See Manohla Dargis's feature on DB in the New York Times.

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Alloy Orchestra members join Ebertfest panelists onstage for a discussion after the screening of Dziga Vertov's Soviet avant-garde silent film "Man with a Movie Camera" (1929).

All photos by jim emerson

A taste of today's tweets (most recent at top):

RT @aliarikan Roger just presented Charlie Kaufman with a Golden Thumb for Synecdoche for best film of the decade.

RT @SunsetGunShots Tonight #ebertfest: Synecdoche, New York. Is That All There Is To A Fire? http://tinyurl.com/2ajswar

Roger welcomes the Alloy Orchestra. http://yfrog.com/17wxaj #Ebertfest

Alloy Orchestra setting up for Man with a Movie Camera. http://yfrog.com/13r0ejj "Departures" - like a Bill Forsyth comedy that evolves into Capra or Bozage weepie: death, food, seasons, ritual...

Egyptian correspondent [Wael Khairy] eluded volcano and is on his way from O'Hare!

Foreign panel: Piracy/torrent may be only option for var. reasons: Diving Bell & Butterfly, Brokeback Mt., Singin' in the Rain

@aliarikan: Most popular film among young people in Istanbul is probably "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Far-flung Internet correspondents from Seoul, Mexico City, London, Pakistan, China, Philippines (via Chicago, Toronto, Malaysia) Roger introducing a panel of his "foreign correspondents." http://yfrog.com/bfv0hj Panel: Do filmmakers need to take production classes? Or is liberal arts a better way to learn about story, character, metaphor? Classic archivist line "Digital/DVD will last forever or five years, whichever comes first."

David Bordwell: Distinction between film as medium and film as form. E-books are still books. Q from audience: Has the term "film" become like "dial tone," where people don't really understand what it means?

Live-streaming a panel from the Illini Union. http://yfrog.com/iyjikj

D.Bordwell: There's something interesting to learn or be said about nearly any film if you know how to ask the right questions.

Howie Movshovitz: Charles Burnett DISCOVERED his personal vision via Neorealists, Renoir, Sembene - absorbing not imitating them.

Panel: Do film students need to know the classics? History teaches experience, options. No need to reinvent the wheel.

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