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Alpha

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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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Cinema Interruptus

From Michael McLoughlin, Denver, CO:

The first time I heard of Ebert was when I came across a show where two combative critics would show a clip, comment on a film and respond to each other's critiques. This was a change from watching the usual critique of one reviewer covering film and theater. Stuart Kline was still doing the reviews for channel 11 in New York at the time and Ebert and Siskel's show was a departure from that critics style of review. For the other writers who have said how much they have learned about the art of film from Ebert from reading his reviews, I want to mention how much more can be learned from his presentations of "cinema interruptus" where he will take time over days to sit and talk with an audience about a film, stopping scene by scene with running commentary.

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The comments could be about the actors, the shots, the references to other films that may be more or less obvious, or whatever else might come to mind. I found how much more informative it was to be in the audience when he was doing a film which he gave a bad review. If other readers have had the opportunity to attend "cinema interruptus" I hope they can relate what they have gained by being in the audience. I hope that his recovery will allow him to continue to do these participatory events. I look forward to being able to attend again.

From Jim Emerson: I absolutely love those "cinema interruptus" sessions, which Roger does each year at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder and elsewhere. This year alone I've seen him do Richard Brooks' 1967 "In Cold Blood," along with lead actor Scott Wilson, on the Floating Film Festival in February, and Robert Altman's brilliant 1973 re-imagining of a Philip Marlowe case, "The Long Goodbye." Once you've seen a movie this way, you are forced to realize what a rich and complex art form movies can be. I can't wait for Roger's next one!

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