Life Itself (Steve James, Roger Ebert, 2014): USA

Reviewed by Furkan Altunkaynak. Viewed at SBIFF 2015.

Wow!! Without watching this documentary you cannot consider yourself as person have seen a real documentary. The documentary life Itself is really life itself and there is no doubt about it. For a person who spends his or her lifetime to movies, this is a dream like way to say good-bye to this cruel world. Sculpt a documentary, based on your life, and you shot yourself before you die. Roger Ebert left one of the most precious piece of documentary filmmaking of all time. Seeing this documentary in my lifetime in this festival with a Q&A with Chaz Ebert was like privilege. The mix with interview and reality-show like following camera kind of documentary make this piece more interesting to watch after a person dead You have the chance to see the real love of his family to him. Before he dies he give his ideas about his documentary. In the Q&A she mention that he wanted every thing to be naked nude. So every body can see him as a simple man who happens to be in his situation.

Ow!! Even though his wife didn’t want him to be seen this way, he wanted the show the truth the way that he is when he was sick; Which leaded to reality show like shots. Cutting between his words that he has been writing when he was in his sickness and narrating some of the part that way make us to see his honest opinions about his life. Since his illness disables his ability to speak, documentary makers find a voice for him to narrate the documentary by the thing he wrote before his died. He looks happy all the time by the fact that he is going to die.

With in the heart of relationship that I have with my older brother, I saw in the same brothership between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. I am so glad that they didn’t forget to mention about Gene Siskel. Not only as a great man that had a chance to spend time with Roger but also like a great part the being played in Roger’s life after his death. When I learned about this I start seeing he effect on Roger in this documentary. I think even for this documentary being this much outspokenly is the fact that Gene didn’t tell his partner that he is going to die.


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