In a statement Monday, film critic Roger Ebert said he hoped to return to the movie beat very soon.Ebert also said he planned to attend his annual film festival in Champaign-Urbana, which begins April 23. Ebert underwent a third surgery in January following a battle with cancer. Like previous surgeries, the recent operation in Houston brought complications and Ebert was unable to recover his voice. He said vocal recovery would require another surgery, and he was currently uninterested in thinking about another procedure. Below is Ebert's full statement: "I am at last returning to the movie beat. After my current stay at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I'm looking forward to opening night of my annual film festival at the University of Illinois on April 23rd, and I will resume movie reviews shortly thereafter. Are you as bored with my health as I am? I underwent a third surgery in January, this one in Houston, and once again there were complications. I am sorry to say that my ability to speak was not restored. That would require another surgery. But I still have all my other abilities, including the love of viewing movies and writing about them. And at my side I have my angelic wife, Chaz. The festival is shaping up well! Thanks to Nate Kohn, the festival director, the schedule, which is already released at Ebertfest.com, includes appearances by filmmaker and U of I graduate Ang Lee, directors Paul Schrader, Sally Potter, Tom DiCillo, Bill Forsyth and others. It was Schrader's line from his screenplay for Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" that inspired my acceptance of my bandaged appearance: "I ain't a pretty boy no more." Assisting in the on-stage Q&A sessions will be my TV partner, Richard Roeper, my Chicago Tribune colleague, Michael Phillips, and my long-time friends Richard and Mary Corliss (he is the film critic of Time magazine), film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, and U of I alum and Sports Illustrated's Bill Nack. The longest distance commute will be Farmer John Peterson, who lives in Northern Illinois but will fly in from New Zealand. I am still cancer-free, and not ready to think about more surgery at this time. I should be content with the abundance I have. So that's the latest. I have been so moved by the messages I've received from so many of you. Thank you. Now let's go to the movies.
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