The trailer for Steve James' latest doc, Life Itself, popped up online yesterday, and goddamn is it effective. Check it out up top before we move on.
Based on Roger Ebert's excellent 2001 memoir of the same name, Life Itself began filming just five months prior to Ebert's death in 2013, and premiered at Sundance earlier this year to a strong response from critics (though Devin's review suggests we should prepare for something that's a little more "tribute" than "documentary"). That makes Life Itself the latest in a series of well-received docs from James, the director behind Hoop Dreams, Stevie* and The Interrupters.
Life Itself looks like it's going to be an emotional sit, offering viewers a walkthrough of Ebert's life, career and death, as well as interviews with a number of filmmakers I'm always happy to hear from, including Errol Morris, Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog (or, as he's known around my household, Fuck Yeah Werner Herzog). A final selling point: footage of Ebert and Gene Siskel being dicks to one another. Always entertaining.
Life Itself opens in limited release on July 4th.
* = If you've never seen Stevie, I cannot recommend it enough. It's one of the most riveting, gut-churning and ultimately haunting docs I've ever seen. Download it via Amazon.com here or buy a hard copy here. It ain't an easy watch, but it's criminally underseen and well worth your time.