The late film critic occasionally had things to say about our city—and not always just about TIFF.
Roger Ebert died yesterday after a long struggle with cancer, breaking the hearts of admirers around the world who’d come to know him through his film journalism, and, in later years, through his unbelievably active Twitter account.
Like all of his writing, his tweets dealt mainly with film but often veered off into unexpected thematic territory. Since Ebert made an annual pilgrimage to the Toronto International Film Festival to check out each year’s slate of new movies, he sometimes turned his Twitter attention to the goings-on in our part of the world. (Which, to be fair, isn’t all that far away from his part of the world, Chicago.)
Here’s a look at a few of the times Ebert tried to sum up Toronto in 140 characters or less.
First of all, though, it has to be said that Ebert wasn’t exactly neglectful of Toronto in his long-form writing. If you go through the archived TIFF coverage on his website, you’ll find year after year of fond reports from Toronto’s festival-choked downtown streets. (Plus one not-so-fond report.)
A reader gets the sense that when Ebert came here he talked to locals, read local press, and tried to soak up the atmosphere—between movies, at any rate. Over the years he repeatedly enthused over TIFF’s inclusiveness. He loved the fact that ordinary people could attend screenings, even if they had to book vacations to do it. In a 2008 column, Ebert said he’d only missed the festival twice, ever.
But his tweets about Toronto aren’t, like his columns, bound by the necessity of conveying useful information to a filmgoing readership—and so, from a Torontonian perspective, some of them are especially charming. Here are a few we liked: