On Being Better People, One Film at a Time

I have always struggled to articulate what it is about film that appeals to me so much, what it is that moves me about the movie going experience. I have always loved movies. From a very young age I’ve found the stories told by others to be wonderful, and silly, and profound, and touching, and exhilarating. Story telling, of any kind really, has been something very important in my life.

This year, during Ebertfest, a short trailer was shown before each movie. It was the same trailer every time which is, in my experience, common for the festival, but this year’s trailer struck a chord for me, every time. I was moved by his words and found and understanding there. This is one of the best, if not the best, explanations about what going to a movie, or watching one at home for that matter, can do for us as people. Listening to the stories of others opens the world in ways we can’t possibly imagine. It broadens and enlightens, provides connection and commonality.

Here is the clip. The transcript of the speech is below.

Ebertfest Trailer 2014 from Michael Mirasol on Vimeo.

“One of the marks of civilization is to be able to somehow step outside your own mind and your own experience and understand what it is like to be a person of another race, another age, another gender, another nationality. To have different physical capabilities, to have different beliefs. And when I go to the movies, I have an out of the body experience. If a movie is working for me to some degree I am that person on the screen, I forget my social security number, I don’t know where I parked the car, I am having vicariously an experience that happened to someone else, and that makes me a better person, or it can make me a better person. And I sincerely believe that to see good films and to see important films is one of the most profoundly civilizing experiences that we can have as people.” – Roger Ebert

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Bayou Maharajah

MV5BODk3NzIzMDg1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTk0OTgxOQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Genius. Music. Transcendent. Piano. Virtuoso. Bent. Eccentric. Troubled. Magical. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Born on the Fourth of July

MV5BMTgwNDk5NTA0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTkyMDUxMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Poignant. Tough. Powerful. Engrossing. Uncomfortable. True. Complex. Lasting. Evolution. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Goodbye Solo

MV5BMTA3MDQyODE4MTJeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDcxNjM1MjI@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Thoughtful. Heavy. Journey. Rich. Subtle. Hue. Character. Taxi. Spirit. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – A Simple Life

MV5BMTQ1NDI2OTU5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTAyNzcwOQ@@._V1_SY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_Moving. Quiet. Sweet. Sad. Affection. Subtle. Cat. Caregiving. Relationships. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Wadjda

MV5BMjI4MzMyNzM2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDQ5MDgwMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_Beautiful. Uplifting. Optimistic. Joyous. Place. Bicycle. Change. Insight. Smart. YES.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Do The Right Thing

MV5BMTI3NzAwMjkwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDgxMjAyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Powerful. Humanity. Anger. Loud. Violence. Tolerance. Race. Heat. Community. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Capote

MV5BMTczMzU0MjM1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjczNzgyNA@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_Intense. Beautiful. Relationships. Selfishness. Careless. Complex. Quiet. Fierce. Considered. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – He Who Gets Slapped

HWGSSinister. Lion. Fate. Heart. Love. Creepy. Clowns. Globe. Sad. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Young Adult

20140424-153133.jpgUncomfortable. Repellent. Immature. Acidic. Close. Portrait. Alcohol. Dolce. Empty. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Short Term 12

20140424-153059.jpgConnection. Community. Youth. Hurt. Release. Emotional. Struggle. Bat. Rap. YES.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Museum Hours

20140424-130617.jpgSnapshots. Observed. Vienna. Realistic. Deep. Conversations. Art. Gorgeous. Doorways. Yes.

10 Word Review – Ebertfest – Life Itself

MV5BMTM5ODA1MTMyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzM3OTk4MDE@._V1_SY317_CR139,0,214,317_AL_Thorough. Heartfelt. Reverent. Honest. Real. Story. Writing. Life. Beauty. Yes.

16th Annual Ebertfest


Here it comes.  Woo Hoo!

The 16th Annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, or more informally known here in town as Ebertfest, starts tomorrow evening.  Technically it starts tonight, but that screening, at the University, is for students.  It’s a good one though, the original The Taking of Pelham, One, Two, Three.  Alas, we won’t be seeing that one.  We will start tomorrow evening, alongside other fest goers, for the viewing of a documentary of Roger Ebert’s life called Life Itself.  I can hardly wait.

I just got done reviewing the line-up.  12 films over five days.  It’s a diverse group, which is lovely and something I look forward to every year.  These are, for the most part, quiet lesser known films.  Sure, this year we’ll be seeing Do The Right Thing and Born on the Fourth of July, but other films, directed by women from Saudi Arabia and China, aren’t known to me at all.  There’s also a 1924 silent, accompanied by a local orchestra, and a documentary about a New Orleans musician.

Film immersion.  For five days, starting with the Wednesday evening screening and ending with the one film at noon on Sunday, we will be in it.  In it with 1600 other film buffs who look forward to and live for this experience every year.  Community, a shared experience, love of film, love of different ideas and ways of looking at the world, love of hearing voices that are not our own and that we may have never heard before.  Stories told with grace, humor, angst, and a passion that becomes contagious.

The festival starts tomorrow… and I can’t wait.