Austin director Andrew Bujalski's latest film, Computer Chess, is a radical departure from his previous works, Mutual Appreciation, Funny Ha Ha and Beeswax. It centers around a computer chess tournament at a hotel in 1980, and was filmed on black and white Sony AVC-3260 video cameras from 1968, giving it a spectral veneer. When the film screened in March at SXSW, Bujalski referenced William Eggleston's video work around Memphis in the '70s as an influence.
Wiley Wiggins (left) and Patrick Riester in Computer Chess
The script was heavily improvised by a cast that features actors, computer programmers and, for good measure, a film critic (Gerald Peary). They wander the halls of the hotel, trying to keep their machines from malfunctioning while pondering bigger philosophical questions. For all its ancient tech-speak, there is something profound about the film, and the different rooms these people inhabit, which mirror our own contemporary online lives.
As part of this weekend's Oak Cliff Film Festival, UT Dallas chess program director James Stallings will be at Texas Theatre on Saturday, after the 3:30 p.m. screening of Computer Chess, along with chess master John Jacobs, and UTD players Marko Zivanic and Valentin Yotov. They'll talk about the film and chess in general, and there will be matches in the lobby before and after the screening. What did Stallings think of Bujalski's film?More »