Close Up

20 - 21 August 2016: Take Two: The Chess Players / Computer Chess

This summer we are excited to organise our first chess tournament at Close-Up and to present two great chess films: Ray's The Chess Players and Bujalski's mockumentary Computer Chess. The tournament will consist of 15 games spread over the weekend. To join the tournament simply call our box office and let us know which film you would like to see. There are only 16 participants, so book now to avoid disappointment!

The Chess Players
Satyajit Ray
1977 | 129 min | Colour | 35mm

"In Ray’s first big-budget film for which he employed not only some of the major stars of the Bollywood scene (Kumar, Jaffrey) but also notable western actors (Attenborough), two aristocrats obsessed with chess meet daily for a match while remaining oblivious to the upheaval and turmoil around them. Set in Lucknow circa 1856, the story of the chess players is paralleled by that of a monarch who ignores the impending threat of British territorial expansion so that he may engage in his own creative pursuits. Despite the film’s very serious historical context, Ray presents it with a delicate, humorous touch." – Harvard Film Archive

Computer Chess
Andrew Bujalski
2013 | 93 min | B/W | Digital

A boldly intelligent ensemble comedy with a feel and atmosphere that surpass easy comparison, Computer Chess takes place in the early-1980s over the course of a weekend conference where a group of obsessive software programmers have convened to pit their latest refinements in machine-chess and the still-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI) against an assembly of human chess masters. Computer Chess is a portrait not only of the crazy and surreal relationships that come to pass between the abundance of characters who participate in the weekend event, but of the very era of early computing itself – and of the first, rudimentary video games – and of the hopes and insecurities that persisted through the film's "retro" digital age into the present-day – that semi-virtual, hyper-social, dehumanised landscape that, let's face it, is our very own era.