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Archive for the ‘skaak in films’ Category

It’s a long time since I’ve blogged something chessy – so here goes… time is tight! I don’t even have enough time to play a proper chess game. Luckily, it’s almost Easter Hols and then I might have a few spare hours to play a game or two. I do miss playing chess though! I’ve come across this movie-article and thought to share it with you. The movies can’t go without chess! It’s Spring and trees around us are almost covered in blossoms. This flower-pic was taken in August last year. I hate these bees we have here, they are surely not friendly and look quite scary.

In ‘Queen to Play’ Sandrine Bonnaire plays a chambermaid empowered by playing chess.

Chess as a Slow Dance of Seduction

By STEPHEN HOLDEN

Published: March 31, 2011

Caroline Bottaro’s tangy comic bonbon, “Queen to Play,” plucks the game of chess out of the metaphorical realm of spy thrillers and reimagines it as a fable about relationships and upward mobility. Adapted from Bertina Henrichs’s novel “The Chess Player,” this slight but captivating movie (Ms. Bottaro’s directorial debut) compares the strategies of chess to the erotic maneuvers in a flirtatious pas de deux that may be more satisfying than actual sex. At the same time, a woman’s winning the game symbolizes female empowerment in a man’s world and ascent from working-class drudgery to the bourgeoisie.

Hélène (Sandrine Bonnaire), the movie’s sly, middle-aged Cinderella, is an attractive chambermaid at a luxury hotel in Corsica. While going about her chores, she observes a chess game being played by a sexy American couple (Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould) on the balcony of their suite. Stealthy moves accompanied by insinuating eye contact culminate with the woman’s defeating the man and flashing Hélène a smile of conspiratorial glee.

Hélène takes the hint, and at a birthday party for her husband, a handsome dockworker named Ange (Francis Renaud), she presents him with an electronic chess set in the hopes of reigniting the spark in their marriage. Ange is mystified and vaguely annoyed by the gift. When he expresses no interest in learning the game, Hélène begins teaching herself to play and quickly becomes obsessed.

“Queen to Play” is a lighthearted, grown-up fairy tale in which chess consumes Hélène’s imagination and transforms her life. As she mops a black-and-white checkered floor, it becomes a surreal dreamscape. At a restaurant she makes chess pieces out of crumbled bread and pushes them around the squares of the red-and-white tablecloth.

The intimate looks exchanged by the characters as they compete for advantage in a game in which the queen is the most powerful piece tell us as much about them as anything they say. Sometimes chess even suggests a mental striptease in which the players shed their defenses as they exchange glances and dare each other to go forward. At other times it conjures a war between the sexes, with Hélène the feminist upstart challenging male dominance.

Avid to learn more, she discovers a chess set in the house of Dr. Kröger (Kevin Kline, in his first entirely French-speaking role), a widowed American professor for whom she works as a part-time housecleaner. She volunteers to clean his place in exchange for weekly chess lessons. A mysterious figure suffering from an unidentified lung ailment, Kröger agrees. When, after only a few lessons, she is regularly beating him, he urges her to enter a local tournament.

In small but significant ways, “Queen to Play” defies expectations. It dangles the possibility of an affair between Hélène and Kröger in games that the film likens to courtship rituals in a classic screwball comedy. But their flirtation is never physically consummated.

Hélène’s relationships with her husband and rebellious teenage daughter, Lisa (Alexandra Gentil), undergo surprising transformations. Ange, initially threatened by Hélène’s passion, which keeps her out late and distracts her from housework, is initially so suspicious that he follows her to a lesson and spies on her. But once he realizes that she has a gift, his jealousy turns to admiration, and the flame of desire is rekindled. Lisa, who is so ashamed and contemptuous of her parents for being “poor” that she refuses to invite boyfriends to the house, becomes her mother’s fervent champion.

Ms. Bonnaire’s Hélène subtly evolves from a harried, resentful domestic wearing a perpetually hurt expression into a woman who discovers her power. Mr. Kline, as the haughty, secretive professor with a kind heart under a prickly exterior gives one of his finest screen performances, executed with minute fluctuations in his body language.

In their most delicious scene Hélène and Kröger play an imaginary game of chess away from the board. Gazing into each other’s eyes, they engage in what has the ring of intellectual pillow talk. Although the conversation is entirely chaste, in the intensity with which they study each other’s signals, they might as well be newlyweds.

QUEEN TO PLAY

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Caroline Bottaro; written by Ms. Bottaro and Caroline Maly, based on the novel “The Chess Player,” by Bertina Henrichs; director of photography, Jean-Claude Larrieu; edited by Tina Baz Le Gal; music by Nicola Piovani; set design by Emmanuel de Chauvigny; costumes by Dorothée Guiraud; produced by Dominique Besneard and Michel Feller; released by Zeitgeist Films. In French, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Sandrine Bonnaire (Hélène), Kevin Kline (Dr. Kröger), Francis Renaud (Ange), Jennifer Beals (the American Woman), Dominic Gould (the American Man), Valérie Lagrange (Maria) and Alexandra Gentil (Lisa).

A version of this review appeared in print on April 1, 2011, on page C8 of the New York edition..

Source: http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/movies/kevin-kline-in-caroline-bottaros-queen-to-play-review.html

Time is tight – enjoy!

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 I think chess is a game most people can play. If you can’t play it, it’s very easy to learn the basics. Well, the basics are the pieces, names and how they move. Also, make sure you know whenever you play chess, that there’s always a white square on your right hand side! Otherwise, your board is set up wrongly! And, the white pieces go on the rows marked 1 and 2, black on 7 and 8. In some movies, you will find the board set up wrongly and even the Queen not on the colour she should be! White Queen goes to the white square …. so the Queen goes to “her” colour. I’ve found an interesting article why they – directors – like chess in the movies! So, have you got any plans to be an actor? Then…learn to play chess…or at least know the basics…. lol!
Click HERE to play through the game from the movie: From Russia with love!

By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

The late Ingmar Bergman’s film the Seventh Seal helped cement his reputation as a cerebral director, and might explain why chess is such an enduring theme for film makers.

In the Seventh Seal a Swedish knight returns from the crusades to find his home country ravaged by tragedy and is soon locked in a game of chess with death.

Without giving much away, it’s a fairly intense game.

Bergman’s arthouse favourite is perhaps the most notorious example of chess on celluloid, but there are hundreds and hundreds of others. From the brainiest to the schlockiest, one of the movie world’s favourite devices is chess.

Humphrey Bogart plays chess

And among the chess-playing fraternity there’s a whole subculture of “chess in the movies” discussion, with a number of dedicated websites, and Bob Basalla’s book Chess in the Movies, providing exhaustive lists stretching up to 2,000 titles.

Perhaps the second best known chess scene is in the Thomas Crown Affair, where Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway enjoy a romantically-charged game.


Satyajit Ray’s the Chess Players is another arthouse classic, while 2000’s Luzhin Defence had a grandmaster as its central character.

But for many chess aficionados, the best example of the game has to be in the second James Bond film, From Russia With Love, where the Spectre agent Kronsteen ruthlessly beats the Canadian master McAdams
Sometimes chess is in a movie because a star or director is a player. Humphrey Bogart was reputed to be at the top end of amateur players, and suggested a chess scene for Casablanca. And Stanley Kubrick was so taken with chess that it features in The Killing, Lolita and 2001 and alluded to the game in Paths of Glory.

“The best scenes are where there is some tension between the protagonists. Humphrey Bogart has a special place in my affections because he did love chess. The board was definitely the right way round in Casablanca,” Pein adds.

The chess authorities have tried to capitalise on the movies to recruit new players, such as when the game was heavily featured in a Harry Potter movie.

And the fans like most the movies – such as From Russia With Love – that at least attempt to use a real game. Blade Runner features a game based on Anderssen against Kieseritzky in London in 1851, known to some as the Immortal Game, and 1925’s Chess Fever which featured Cuban world champion Jose Raul Capablanca playing a champion.

Read more HERE about chess in movies.


Click HERE to see how the pieces move and if you don’t know these little funny men on the pic here, you can click
HERE to read about the Lewis Chessmen!

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Another fantastic link HERE about Chess in movies.

If you click HERE you can see a list of more than 1700 movies where a chess scene can be found!

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