Donald J. Levit, R.I.P.
We received some sad news this week. Donald J. Levit, one of our longtime valued critics at ReelTalk Movie Reviews, passed away on January 8. We will miss his thorough, perceptive and well-written reviews.
Donald’s impressive academic background helped make his reviews a learning experience for our readers. He earned a B. A. from Duke and a Ph.D. from Chicago. His varied residences also gave him knowledge of other cultures that enhanced his unique critiques. Although born in Nashville and raised there and in Brooklyn, he lived in many other places in the U.S. He also resided for a time in the Caribbean and, for twenty-two years, in Spain. During his later years, he called New York City his home.
Phil Hall, one of Donald’s friends, writes, “Don was a generous and insightful man, a charming raconteur and a lovely soul. I will miss him very much. I met Don in 1998 when he came to a weekly retro film series screening that I was programming in New York City. He enjoyed the show and came back the next week, and for the following weeks. We got to know each other better and I recommended that he write about films. I secured him a brief gig with Film Threat before connecting him with ReelTalk Reviews, where he offered erudite insight on current and contemporary cinema.”
Donald loved music, documentaries, independent films and movies from countries all over the world. His contributions to ReelTalk Movie Reviews increased the breadth and depth of our cinema coverage.
As a member of the Online Film Critics Society, Donald’s movie reviews are listed on Rotten Tomatoes at this link: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/donald-j-levit
Because The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble was Donald’s final review, it seems fitting to conclude with his profound last paragraph.
War, malnutrition, poverty, disease, hopelessness are rife in this present era of displacement such as Earth has never before witnessed. The instinctive joy of and in music is no miracle cure-all, but after the ninety-six minutes of MUSIC OF STRANGERS, one may recall Robert Kennedy: “I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” We need be strangers no more.
May you rest in peace, dear Donald.