The film world is definitely less than now that legendary critic Roger Ebert has passed away, and the void left by his sudden departure this week grows a little deeper with each archival encounter of his awesome intelligence, dark humor and pragmatism.
In the latest instance, the folks at IndieWire dug up this video of Ebert putting one well-deserving jerk in his place at 2002's Sundance Film Festival.
Long story short, director Justin Lin (now known for his "Fast & Furious" franchise work) was accosted by an audience member at the festival after a showing of his debut film "Better Luck Tomorrow." The heckler demanded to know why it was that Lin, what with his cavalcade talent for the film, decided to make such an "empty and amoral for Asian-Americans" movie.
Ebert, whose voice was still intact pre-throat cancer at the time, took it upon himself to answer on behalf of the "Tomorrow" filmmakers.
"What I find very offensive and condescending about your statement," he lashed out, "is nobody would say to a bunch of white filmmakers, 'How could you do this to your people?' This film has the right to be about these people, and Asian-American characters have the right to be whoever the hell they want to be. They do not have to 'represent' their people."
Needless to say, Roger Ebert's moral compass was seemingly always on point, and he wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed.
What a guy. A million thumbs up for this one.