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      Chess Story

      Released Jan 13, 2023 1h 52m History Drama War TRAILER for Chess Story: Trailer 1 List Chess Story: Trailer 1 Chess Story: Trailer 1 1:57 View more videos
      89% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 81% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings 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. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (9) Critics Reviews
      Michael Rechtshaffen Los Angeles Times “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. Jan 19, 2023 Full Review William Repass Slant Magazine 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. Rated: 3/4 Jan 8, 2023 Full Review Lael Loewenstein FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles) It's extremely well-directed and one of the best uses of sound design I've heard in a while. Feb 11, 2023 Full Review Lee Jutton Film Inquiry Despite boasting great performances and lavish production values, the film also feels unnecessarily messy, as though its makers were somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of adapting such a lauded piece of literature. Jan 28, 2023 Full Review Kyle Smith National Review Chess Story is a diabolically knotted psychological thriller... The film isn’t really about chess but about the human spirit. Jan 13, 2023 Full Review Benjamin Franz Film Threat Chess Story is a subtle, soft-spoken killer of a film. It’s absolutely worth your time if you like World War II-era dramas. Seek it out. Rated: 8/10 Jan 13, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (6) audience reviews
      Sofiya K As I love Stefan Zweig booksI was hoping to see a more subtle Chess Novella -- about the deamons in the head, about this fascinating idea on how you play agains yourself. Seeing Nazis at their horrible but well known tricks was not too exciting - we had seen it all... Extra people around and a well formed ending was also not in the spirit of Chess Novella... Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Irene M unfortunately I preferred the short story to the film adaptation. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 07/03/23 Full Review huck d Wow. I saw this in a theatre, and after it ended, no one in the audience could even move or speak. This was the most compelling psychological thriller perhaps ever to hit the screen. Oliver Masucci gives a harrowing portrayal of a man who stubbornly refuses to give his secrets to the Nazis by escaping from his inhuman torturous captivity into a psychologically complex escape fantasy engendered from an instructional book on chess he purloined by chance. The director masterfully weaves an intricate plot together that shifts both in time and in and out of reality. And the musical score was the perfect accompaniment to lift you from your seat and into the brilliant unyielding darkness of Masucci's mind. This was a unqualified masterpiece. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 04/23/23 Full Review Avindu G Chess story or the Royal Game is a masterpiece comprising with a truly wonderful storyline. Sufficient amount of visual effects beautify the Bartok's odyssey. Cinematography is of highest degree capturing even the tiniest of emotions and progressive deterioration of Bartok's mind. Excellent arrangement of the story to make the tragedy of Bartok's life a heartfelt one for the viewers. Performances are exquisite enacting every incidental emotion masterfully. It's a different view on the lives of Europe during the WW2 era and a memoir that's extremely artistic which is of absolute worth of the time. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/12/23 Full Review Richard Kurtz Interesting film that tied together at its conclusion well acted and involving Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Google Tense and thrilling to the end. The main character is amazing! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Chess Story

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis 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.
      Director
      Philipp Stölzl
      Producer
      Tobias Walker, Philipp Worm, Danny Krausz
      Screenwriter
      Eldar Grigorian
      Distributor
      Film Movement
      Production Co
      Walker Worm Film, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), ARD Degeto Film
      Genre
      History, Drama, War
      Original Language
      German
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jan 13, 2023, Limited
      Runtime
      1h 52m
      Aspect Ratio
      Scope (2.35:1)
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