The news of Roger Ebert‘s passing came as a shock despite my being aware that his cancer had come back and the situation was grave. Maybe he would won again this time, with his will, passion, and strength, as he did before, I thought.
I sat in the parking lot in shock.
I searched my email and sure enough, I saw the statement by Chez, Roger Ebert’s wife, which was forwarded by a friend of Chez. It was a short but very loving statement about his passing and his life.
I had never met Roger Ebert in person, but had the good fortune of receiving his review of Mulberry Child movie and a rating of 3 ½ stars in January of last year when the film based my life had just come out.
I still remember my director Susan‘s reaction in front of the audience in a packed theatre after the screening of Mulberry Child when she talked about it meant to her.
“Roger Evert is my god,” Susan said. “This feels like getting god’s approval.”
She wiped away surging in her eyes. The audience applauded for her.
I’ve read his review numerous times since Jan. of last year when his review first came out. Each time it touched me on a personal level. He caught the essence of the film and the relationship between Lisa and me with deceiving simple, down-to-earth description.
“There’s a universal story here about immigrant parents and children, and how American culture can swamp family traditions, and make parents and children culturally unrecognizable to one another,” he wrote. “This is a powerful and touching film….”
As I read the review again today, tears well up in my eyes. I felt so honored and fortunate that the icon of Chicago, or rather, the best known film critic in the U.S., if not the entire world, wrote about the film based on my life and gave it a high rating.
Roger Ebert has touched so many people’s lives in so many ways that he will continue to live with us and be cherished deeply in our heart.
Below is a link to Roger Ebert’s review of Mulberry Child:
Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into a award-winning documentary film by Susan Morgan Cooper and is narrated by Jacqueline Bisset. Visit www.mulberrychildmovie.com for more information.