In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb wormwood 2017

Wormwood

A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Primary roger chaz gregory nava

Championing Independent Film: Gregory Nava on Roger Ebert

Editor's Note: Filmmaker Gregory Nava wrote the following essay for inclusion in the program book for the 2014 Spirit Awards, where Roger was honored in March.


Roger Ebert loved independent films. He gave all us mavericks—the independents—filmmakers who had a different story to tell—an avenue to be seen and heard. Before there was a Sundance—before there was a Film Independent or an IFP—there was Roger.

I still remember him bounding up the aisle of the Biograph Theater in Chicago, hand extended to me saying: "Hello, my name is Roger Ebert and I loved your movie." And you could fill the Biograph Theater many times over with filmmakers who had the same experience—

Advertisement

Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, Barbara Kopple, Errol Morris and the list goes on and on. He was the first to support us—when it wasn't the fashionable thing to do—and he helped open the floodgates that became independent filmmaking in America.

Roger did that because whatever role he was given in life he transcended it. In his role as a film critic it was always about something more than writing reviews—it was about finding new voices with different backgrounds and different points of view and encouraging movies that had understanding and empathy—to Roger, "the noblest thing a great movie can do."

When he was faced with a debilitating illness that took his voice from him, he transcended that too by becoming the number one blogger in America. He bravely put his face, altered by cancer, in front of the world on the cover of Esquire Magazine—giving hope and courage to everyone who is handicapped and ill.

And at the end, when he went to the hospital for the last time and his wife Chaz called family, friends and filmmakers to be by his bedside—I was honored to be there—Roger didn't ask for comfort. As always he was brilliant, scribbling witty notes. He took my hand just as he had done when we first met and he offered encouragement and support.

To the end he was giving. Roger deserves all the tributes and honors that are being showered upon him. I know, however, how he would truly want to be honored. He would want filmmakers to make better movies—compassionate movies—movies that "help us identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us."

You will be missed, Roger, but your spirit lives on.

Popular Blog Posts

Why I Stopped Watching Woody Allen Movies

Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.

A Composer For All Seasons: On the Range of John Williams

A look at the work of John Williams outside of his greatest hits.

The Ten Best Films of 2017

The RogerEbert.com picks for the ten best films of 2017.

The Individual Top Tens of 2017

The lists of best films of 2017.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus