Classics on Film
Delight in favorites and hidden gems of the silver screen with this annual film series presented by the Mercer Island Arts Council. Meet us at Aljoya Theater, where film historian Lance Rhoades sets the stage with an introduction for each film and then leads a Q&A to share more insights and interesting facts.
Just as every game of chess is full of possibilities and every match is unique, this quintessential game of concentration and strategy inspired many different types of movies. The 2018-19 Classics on Film series celebrates the amazing variety of chess-themed cinema, with documentaries and dramas drawn from more than a dozen countries on six continents. These include stories of inspiration, empowerment, genius, madness, political intrigue, and surprise twists, all relating to this timeless game. With thanks to the Mercer Island Sister City Association, this year’s series includes two French-language chess-themed films as well as a pair of films from director Patrice Leconte.
Join us Fridays at Aljoya, 2430 76th Avenue SE, where film historian Lance Rhoades will introduce and lead a Q&A following the films. All screenings are free and open to the public and, when available, are presented with English subtitles. Events start at 7:30 pm unless otherwise noted.
View the Winter/Spring 2019 schedule with links below or print it here.
January 11: Pawn Sacrifice (Edward Zwick, 2014)
Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber star in this dramatization of the 1972 World Chess Championship between American Bobby Fischer and Russian Boris Spassky.
January 18: Arcibel’s Game (El juego de Arcibel) (Alberto Lecci, 2003)
Accused of inciting a rebellion against the military dictatorship of a fictional Latin American country, a chess and crossword columnist invents a new game in prison. (Film notes: Presented in Spanish with English subtitles.)
January 25: Life of a King (Jake Goldberger, 2013)
The true story of Washington D.C. resident Eugene Brown (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who transformed an abandoned house into a chess club for high school students.
February 1: A Little Game (Evan Oppenheimer, 2014)
A bright young girl (Makenna Ballard) convinces a grumpy chess player (F. Murray Abraham) in Washington Square Park to teach her how to play so she can compete with the privileged kids at her new private school. Ralph Macchio, Janeane Garofalo, and Olympia Dukakis also star.
March 1: The Dark Horse (James Napier Robertson, 2014)
This film is inspired by the true story of Genesis Potini (Cliff Curtis), a homeless New Zealander suffering from bipolar disorder who trains neighborhood Maori youth to become competitive chess players. Winner of the Best Film award at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival. (Film notes: Adult language.)
March 8: Bobby Fischer Against the World (Liz Garbus, 2011)
Made shortly after Fischer’s death, this documentary shifts between top chess players recounting the magnitude of the Cold War-tinged championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky and Fischer’s descent into extreme paranoia.
March 15: Queen to Play (La Joueuse) (Caroline Bottaro, 2009)
Sandrine Bonnaire stars as a housecleaner who develops a great love for chess from one of her clients (Kevin Kline), a reclusive chess player. Presented in French with English subtitles. (Film notes: Presented in French with English subtitles.) Sponsored in partnership with the Mercer Island Sister City Association. Enjoy wine and cheese starting at 6:30 pm, courtesy of Aljoya.
March 22: King of Chess (Qi wang) (Wenji Tang, 1991)
Chess unites survival stories in two different periods in Chinese history: the Cultural Revolution and the birth of the modern capitalist era. (Film notes: Presented in Mandarin with English subtitles.)
March 29: Magnus (Benjamin Ree, 2016)
This documentary explores the life of Norway's Magnus Carlsen, “the Mozart of Chess” who became a grandmaster at age 13 and still holds the title of the world’s top chess player.
April 5: My Best Friend (Mon meilleur ami) (Patrice Leconte, 2006)
A heartless art dealer convinces a taxi driver to be his best friend when his business partner bets him that he doesn’t have one in this comedy. (Film notes: Presented in French with English subtitles.) Sponsored in partnership with the Mercer Island Sister City Association. Enjoy wine and cheese starting at 6:30 pm, courtesy of Aljoya.
The above document(s) are Adobe® Acrobat® PDF files and may be viewed using the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™. Most newer web browsers already contain the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™ plug-in. However, if you need it, click on the "Get Acrobat® Reader™" icon to download it now.