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Film critics often have a not-so-secret desire to get behind the camera themselves. Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Peter Bogdanovich are among those who made the leap successfully, though Bogdanovich returned to writing after his directing career faltered in the mid-’70s. Even thumbs-up critic Roger Ebert once ventured a screenplay, for “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Wrote friend Mike Royko after a screening: “Every young man is entitled to one big mistake.”

Donald Richie has worn the label of “foremost foreign authority on Japanese cinema” for decades. Arriving in Japan in 1947 as a 23-year-old soldier with the Occupation forces, Richie has lived here, with breaks for work and study, ever since.

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