The film world has lost a titan, and that may be putting it lightly.
Just a day after legendary film critic Roger Ebert announced a “leave of presence” after a recurrence of the cancer he has been battling for over a decade now, Ebert has passed away at the age of 70.
First, it’s safe to say that all of our thoughts go out to Ebert’s family, particularly his beautiful, strong wife Chaz.
However, this is as tough a loss as they come, at least for me. I know it goes without saying, but without Ebert’s work, very few of this generation’s film critics/bloggers would be here, and without his passion, cinema would truly not be the same. I know for myself, this hurts. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the man (I’ve seen one film in the same theater with him during SXSW 2011), but some of my earliest memories involve him, and with he and Gene Siskel coming into my home every week with their iconic At The Movies, I felt like he became a friend. He certainly became an inspiration. His writing was an obvious point of interest for me, but again, his passion for cinema not only forced me to look at film differently early on in my life, but ultimately proved to me just how moving and beautiful a form of art cinema can truly be.
Finally, this hurts because of optimism. With that “leave of absence” announcement came the reveal that he was going to be reviewing what he wanted to, and only what he wanted to, leaving a lot of people to believe this may lead him to find yet another spark for his work.
Our thoughts are with Ebert’s family, and the film world in general. A father to this generation of film fans has been taken from us far too soon.