Friday, April 7 @ 7:30 PM
Vienna, 1938: Austria is occupied by the Nazis. Dr. Josef Bartok (Oliver Masucci) is preparing to flee to America with his wife Anna when he is arrested by the Gestapo. As a former notary to the deposed Austrian aristocracy, he is told to help the local Gestapo leader gain access to their private bank accounts in order to fund the Nazi regime. Refusing to cooperate, Bartok is locked in solitary confinement. Just as his mind is beginning to crack, Bartok happens upon a book of famous chess games. To withstand the torture of isolation, Bartok disappears into the world of chess, maintaining his sanity only by memorizing every move. As the action flashes forward to a transatlantic crossing on which he is a passenger, it seems as though Bartok has finally found freedom. But recounting his story to his fellow travelers, it's clear that his encounters with both the Gestapo and with the royal game itself have not stopped haunting him. Adapted with opulent attention to period detail by filmmaker and opera director Philipp Stölzl, CHESS STORY brings Stefan Zweig's stirring final novella to life.
German | 1 hour 52 minutes | NR
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no screening on Sunday, April 9.
“’Chess Story’ masterfully confounds expectations as a tautly calibrated, intricately constructed Chinese puzzle of a period drama set during Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria.” Los Angeles Times
"Philipp Stölzl craftily melds the genres of period drama and psychological thriller, not for the purposes of reheated nostalgia, but to shed a cold light on the recursions of historical trauma." Slant Magazine
"A diabolically knotted psychological thriller... Thanks to an outstanding performance by Mr. Masucci, who recalls Mads Mikkelsen’s haunted intensity; an elegant turn by Mr. Schuch as his genteel torturer; and charged direction by Mr. Stölzl, who parsimoniously hands out each clue, the film remains breathless throughout." The Wall Street Journal