This morning I learned celebrated Chicago film critic Roger Ebert had passed away. The death of celebrities rarely cause any emotional reaction from me, and yet I found myself becoming increasingly upset over Ebert’s passing. He was not just a famous film critic, but someone who had a real impact in my life, and I am sure countless others.
Film has almost always been a central part of my life. I realized early on that I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I have yet to change my mind. Roger Ebert was a huge part in my development as a film fan, and in my commitment to becoming a filmmaker.
As a kid, I would stay up late to watch At The Movies with Siskel and Ebert, and later At The Movies with Ebert and Roeper. And while I certainly did not always agree with Ebert, his love for film influenced me significantly and drove me to discover some of my favourite films.
His beautiful and deeply personal review of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers, for example, led me to what is now one of the most important films in my development as a film fan. His review of that film is an example of how film criticism is an art form in itself. Roger Ebert will be remembered as one of the most important film critics of all time, and as an inspiration to film fans, critics and filmmakers alike.