Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Chess Players (1977)

I saw that The Chess Players (1977) was reviewed at The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog, so I thought I'd mention it is available at Amazon on DVD or via instant video, where it can be rented for as cheaply as $2.99.  I watched it on my Kindle Fire over the summer.  It is a very interesting film by Indian director Satyajit Ray, in Urdu and English, with subtitles as necessary.  It portrays an important mid-19th century turning point toward British colonial rule, as the East Indian Company decided to exploit the decadence and weakness of the Indian elite (depicted as feasting, reciting poetry, smoking hookahs and, of course, playing chess) to begin installing their own government by invading an important province.  This larger political story is paralleled with the story of two elite men addicted to playing chess, to the point where they ignore the proper management of their households in order to escape into their game.  It's a fascinating commentary on the dangers of chess, and one that will definitely make you think a bit about why you spend so much time playing the game yourself...  Highly recommended.

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