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The film’s confidence comes in part from the acceptance of the things that can’t be known.

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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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Childhood homes of film critics: New landmarks keep pouring in!

My home town of Urbana recently did me the honor of dedicating a plaque on the sidewalk in front of my childhood home.

At first I felt a little doubtful. Aware of my health adventures, a good friend asked: "What do you make of the timing of this?"

I thought it over. "Excellent timing," I said. "I'm still alive."

It was a wonderful day. Friends, neighbors, the mayor, aldermen. The sun shone bright on my old Urbana home.

Mrs. Sallie Ormiston, whose family lived across the street, was there. She was amazed that I remembered she taught me how to tell time. How could I forget? I am reminded several times a day. After "6," it stops being after the last number, and starts being before the next.

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The day felt so good, indeed, that I think more towns should be encouraged to commemorate the childhood homes of their film critics. To hasten that day, I am commencing a project to immortalize the photos linked to above, which I requested from many critics who are friends of mine.

All American, Canadian and Mexican film critics are urged to join. You need not be currently employed. So many of us are not. You are a film critic in your heart, not in your job description. Send photos of your birthplace to me at: rjebert@yahoo.com.

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