Conference on World Affairs

CWA Interruptus: Emerson to carry on for Ebert

Roger Ebert, who has been a regular participant in the University of Colorado's Annual Conference on World Affairs since 1970, has announced that he will not be making the trip to Boulder this April. "The Conference has been a central part of my life for more than 40 years, and I will miss it terribly. Having lost the gift of speech, I can no longer participate in the ways that gave me such pleasure. The Cinema Interruptus sessions, so named by Howard Higman, taught me much more than I ever taught them."

Ebert continues, "I am leaving on a high point after bringing together Werner Herzog and Ramin Bahrani last year. Jim Emerson will carry on, and the audience as always will not let a frame pass unnoticed. Forty weeks is ten months, and that's how long I lived in Boulder. I met so many good people and have so many good memories. Give my regards to Macky and to Daddy Bruce's. And don't be surprised if I turn up one year for the concert. I like that outboard aisle seat on the left, about six rows back..."

The Interruptus-an interactive film analysis series-has been a Boulder institution since 1975. During the film analysis sessions, any member of the audience may freeze the film by yelling, "Stop!" in order to make comments or ask questions.

Seattle film critic Jim Emerson will carry on the Interruptus tradition this April with the Coen brothers' 2009 film A Serious Man. Emerson is the editor-in-chief of and has been a participant in the Conference since 2006. He presided over the Interruptus in 2007 and 2008 during Ebert's absence.

A Serious Man received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture in 2010. Emerson explains his choice, "I think A Serious Man is among the Coens' best and most personal movies, but it's one a lot of people overlooked because it has no marquee-name stars, just the excellent ensemble cast you expect in a Coen brothers movie. It's a fond but satirical look at the Coens' roots as the only Jewish family in a suburban Minneapolis neighborhood in the late 1960s. And it's perfect for the CWA because it wrestles with the Big Issues: religion, philosophy, morality, tradition and television reception."

The CWA's annual shot-by-shot film analysis has inspired the commentary tracks for DVDs of Dark City, Casablanca, Floating Weeds and Citizen Kane, which won Variety's Video Premiere award as the best DVD commentary of the year.