In 2007, filmmaker Werner Herzog dedicated his documentary Encounters at the End of the Worldto Roger Ebert. At one point during Herzog’s commentary track, he calls Ebert “a warrior of the cinema.” Ebert responded to the compliment in a letter to Herzog.
My favorite part of Ebert’s letter:
I believe you have never made a film depending on sex, violence or chase scenes…You have avoided this content, I suspect, because it lends itself so seductively to formulas, and you want every film to be absolutely original.
You have also avoided all “obligatory scenes,” including artificial happy endings… And you don’t use musical scores that tell us how to feel about the content. Instead, you prefer free-standing music that evokes a mood: You use classical music, opera, oratorios, requiems, aboriginal music, the sounds of the sea, bird cries, and of course Popol Vuh.
All of these decisions proceed from your belief that the audience must be able to believe what it sees. Not its “truth,” but its actuality, its ecstatic truth.
You can read all of Ebert’s letter to Herzog here.
Still from Encounters at the End of the World