Life Itself by Roger EbertRoger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.
In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.
Roger Eberts journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetimes adventures.
In this candid, personal history, Ebert chronicles it all: his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs. He writes about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, and his life-changing collaboration with Gene Siskel. He remembers his friendships with Studs Terkel, Mike Royko, Oprah Winfrey, and Russ Meyer (for whom he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie). He shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese.
This is a story that only Roger Ebert could tell. Filled with the same deep insight, dry wit, and sharp observations that his readers have long cherished, this is more than a memoir-it is a singular, warm-hearted, inspiring look at life itself.
I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didnt always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
-from LIFE ITSELF
Cannes Film Festival (2014) - Life Itself Trailer - Roger Ebert Biographical Documentary HD
Life Itself review – documentary tribute to film critic Roger Ebert
July 03, Reviews. Those hospital scenes help make what could have been a fairly straightforward profile a remarkable piece of documentary filmmaking, as much a discourse on life and death in general as the story of one specific, extraordinary life. James is among those filmmakers; Ebert, along with Gene Siskel, was a vocal advocate of Hoop Dreams when it came out in Ebert wrote about film, yes—prolifically, astutely, and seemingly effortlessly—but he also lived it, and the filmmakers he befriended along the way were cast members in the movie of his life. Many of them are actual cast members in Life Itself as well, including Martin Scorsese who also executive-produced , Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Ramin Bahrani, and Ava DuVernay, who all contribute fond remembrances of Ebert as both a critic and person. But not too fond.
Eric Kohn. I think it was reading his memoirs that was the revelation, because then what you saw was that kind of idea we have about most writers and particularly about critics as people who spend too much time in the dark watching movies and then writing about them — that just did not apply to Roger Ebert. His life was so full and it was a pretty exciting movie life that he was living and he had no idea where it was going, but he was going to enjoy the ride, and he did that in every respect. And all of that informed the kind of critic he became. It informed his reviews. It informed everything about who he was and what we came to collectively love about him. A lot of your other movies involve long passages of time and many characters.
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The filmmakers were granted unprecedented access to Roger and Chaz during the final four months of his life. Roger himself became an iconic force when he joined with Gene Siskel to create one of the longest running, most influential television shows in history, making Chicago the cultural center of film criticism. Using his blog, and social media, Roger became a must-read commentator, thoughtfully addressing the political and social issues of our time. His public defiance of cancer and the resulting disfigurement literally and symbolically put a new face on the disease, and brought inspiration to countless thousands in the disabled community and beyond. Despite his "leave of presence," his body of work stands as a great populist monument, accessible inspiration for the next generations of film lovers. Life Itself gives a definitive document of the flesh and blood man who forever changed what it meant to be at the movies: Roger Ebert. Life Itself.