“So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”
The last personal address of film critic Roger Ebert, whose friends and family attended his funeral today.
The Chicago Sun-Times journalist died on the 4th April 2013, after a long battle with cancer. The first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Ebert was also the first to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. He published over 20 books and hundreds of his reviews were syndicated in other newspapers. He brought film criticism to the masses, and is without a doubt responsible for inspiring generations of budding critics and film lovers.
As well as his written work, he and fellow critics Gene Siskel and then Richard Roeper presented At The Movies and became a staple figure on American television. As well as writing about films, he also wrote several screenplays. His experience as a screenwriter marked Ebert as one of very few critics who had genuine knowledge and experience of the craft of filmmaking.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2002, he continued to host At The Movies until an operation in 2006 left him unable to speak. He continued his criticism online, boasting a powerful online presence as he took to Twitter and his website to make his opinions known.
As his health declined, he took a step back from film criticism, choosing instead to review the films he wanted to review. He revealed the return of his cancer in a blog post ‘A Leave of Presence’, two days before his death. He spoke of his plans for future writings, and how “on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”
His encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry was surpassed only by his endless enthusiasm and passion for film. Industry professionals number among the masses of followers around the world, attracted by an infectious and shameless love of film. Cinema was his life, his world, and his legacy, and he will live on in the hearts of those he inspired.
Roger Ebert 1942 – 2013
The films he considers to be the best of all time –
Aguirre, Wrath of God
La Dolce Vita
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Tree of Life