Editor's note: Roger Ebert, in spite of health problems last year, was at Ebertfest from start to finish last year, and Perfume was one of the films screened there. You'll find links to our coverage of last year's fest after the jump.
After so many years of watching movies, Roger Ebert, 65, knows that the show must go on. And so he has announced his plans to appear in person at the10th annual Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, a.k.a. Ebertfest, which will take place April 23-27 in Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois.
Ebert has rarely made public appearances in recent years due to thyroid cancer, which has robbed him of his voice. He is still selecting this year's lineup, culled from films he has reviewed and has deemed overlooked in some form, but he has definitely announced a rare 70mm screening of Kenneth Branagh's magnificent 4-hour Hamlet (1996). (It's the only movie ever made with a lousy performance from Jack Lemmon and a brilliant one by Billy Crystal.)
Judging from Ebert's four-star reviews over the past year, I'd guess that we could also expect screenings of things like Across the Universe or Perfume or Starting Out in the Evening. I doubt he'll choose his #1 film of the year, Juno, since it's a massive hit and an Oscar winner, but maybe he'll choose mine, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was a flop and went Oscarless. Of course, Ebert usually chooses films ranging from a year to several years old, and ranging all the way back to the silent era. Past entries have included duds like Tully and cult classics like Primer.
Ebert will be aided by his wife Chaz and festival director Nate Kohn, as well as panelists Paul Schrader, Sally Potter, Fred Schepisi, and Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss. But according to a Reuter's story, "Ebert's "voice" will play a much bigger role this time, thanks to the assistive technology department at the university." As always, the festival will be celebrated with the presentation of a Golden Thumb, modeled after Ebert's signature thumbs up seal of approval.
Cinematical's coverage of Ebertfest 2007: