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USA, 2013 (MIFF 2013, States of Play: American Independents)

Director: Andrew Bujalski

"In a way that very few films have ever managed, Computer Chess is truly playful … it seems to constantly respond with surprising and inventive moves to every perspective that it's viewed from." – Cinema Scope

In this especially skewed offering, iconic lo-fi director Andrew Bujalski (Mutual Appreciation, MIFF 2006; Beeswax, MIFF 2009) takes his trademark aesthetic to its logical limits, using vintage analogue video equipment to film this early 80s-set story of a computer chess competition, wherein programmers pit their machines against each other to test the limits of AI. The result is a 21st-century ‘relic' shot in soft, grainy black-and-white, rendering the film as visually authentic to the era as you can get without actually digging up an antiquated 80s video.

Of course, a group of passionate nerds is a goldmine for deadpan absurdity, and Bujalski's eye ensures that this film is both droll and utterly plausible. Impeccably acted and stylishly executed, Computer Chess is a remarkable recreation of the birth of the digital revolution.

"Bujalski really has pulled off something extraordinary here ... as an act of cultural archaeology, I can think of few better." – The Guardian

D/S Andrew Bujalski P Houston King, Alex Lipschultz WS The Film Sales Company TD HD Cam/2013

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