Computer Chess (2013)

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Computer Chess: Directed by Andrew Bujalski. With Kriss Schludermann, Tom Fletcher, Wiley Wiggins, Patrick Riester. A 1980s-set story centered around a man vs. machine chess tournament.

“Iu0026#39;ve never seen a film quite like Computer Chess. As one might expect from director Andrew Bujalski, the spoken dialogue and performances from the actors all feel incredibly real. Actor Myles Paige in particular delivers Mike Papageorgeu0026#39;s cocky, self-aggrandizing dialogue with a naturalistic vocal cadence you donu0026#39;t often find in the standard summer fare of film. The cinematography, too, is appropriately raw. Shot on video with a 4:3 aspect ratio, itu0026#39;s hard not to watch a scene and feel like youu0026#39;re looking at someoneu0026#39;s home movie. While it will no doubt be jarring for some, I found the aesthetic endearing and immersive, as if I really was in the 80s with the characters.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhen not focusing on the computer chess competition, the film pries into the lives of its attendees. Here the characters are the filmu0026#39;s primary focus. Even though u0026quot;Chessu0026quot; has no proper protagonist, itu0026#39;s hard not getting attached to these people. Peter Bishop, a younger computer programmer, comes the closest we get to a main character, and exhibits a reserved, shy personality that I personality think exists in us all. Bishop finds himself floundering from one uncomfortable situation to the next, unable to express his discomfort or anxieties. Other attendees often wax philosophical about the nature of programming, dropping gems like u0026quot;Is real artificial intelligence different from artificial real intelligence?u0026quot;u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eInterestingly enough, Bujalski has no qualms about belying the real-world aesthetic heu0026#39;s effortlessly created. Throughout the film he peppers in several surreal flourishes. Often times scenes will have jump cuts, audio will go out of sync with the video, the film features an almost out of place color scene, and thereu0026#39;s even a trippy dream sequence where the programmers take on the role of chess pieces. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eUltimately, Computer Chess features something for everyone. From likable characters to a refreshing visual style, itu0026#39;s hard not to leave the film feeling wholly satisfied.”

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