Ebert unveils third Overlooked Fest pix

Famed critic will lead discussions before and after each pic

Roger Ebert will honor his alma mater, the U. of Illinois in Champaign, with his third annual “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival” April 25-29 at the Virginia Theater in Champaign and at the university.

The 12 films to be screened are Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” (1996); Patrice Leconte’s “Girl on the Bridge” (France, 1999); Alison Maclean’s “Jesus’ Son” (Canada/USA, 1999); Wu Tianming’s “The King of Masks” (China, 1996); F.W. Murnau’s silent “Nosferatu” (Germany, 1922), with live musical accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra; Ramin Serry’s “Maryam” (2000); Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen’s “On the Ropes” (1999); Henry Bromell’s “Panic” (2000); Roy Andersson’s “Songs From the Second Floor” (Sweden, 2000); Sam Raimi’s “A Simple Plan” (1998); Sturla Gunnarsson’s “Such a Long Journey” (U.K./Canada, 1998); and a freshly restored print of Robert Altman’s “3 Women” — “My choice as the best film of 1977, but unavailable since then,” said Ebert.

Of “Songs From the Second Floor,” which he singled out as one of his three favorite films from last year’s Cannes fest, Ebert said, “It’s still without U.S. distribution, perhaps because it is simply too original and daring.”

About “A Simple Plan,” Ebert wondered, “How and why did American audiences all but ignore this modern masterpiece, which was on so many best 10 lists, including mine?”

Ebert and festival guests will be onstage before and after each film to join the audience in discussions. Festival passes are on sale at the Virginia Theater box office at (217) 356-9063 and the Bresnan Meeting Center at (217) 398-2550. Passes may also be purchased online at www.ebertfest.com.

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