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Computer Chess wins rave reviews


After packing out screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, a sly satire on artificial intelligence set against the backdrop of a chess tournament pitting the best computer software and programmers against each other over a long weekend in 1980, continues to garner accolades from critics in the US where it is in theatrical release.

For all the deadpan gags, maladroit reactions, outmoded fashions and outdated technology the film also contains an audacious video look complete with glitches. On Rotten Tomatoes it enjoys a solid 85% fresh rating. Los Angeles critic Betsy Sharkey has referred to the film as "genius" and New York Times critic A.O. Scott described it as "sneakily brilliant."

The cast includes Dazed and Confused actor Wiley Wiggins, film professor and critic Gerald Peary in a showstopping performance in addition to some legitimate computer programmers who are making their cinematic debuts. "This profound, peculiar work of genius, this half-comic portrait of the present in embryo within the past, reverberates with hidden meanings and a questing intelligence," notes Andrew O'Hehir at "Bujalski is having fun with Night of the Living Dead, on a community-access palette" observes Wesley Morris in Grantland. "But I also can't think of another director who's come closer to capturing how antique technology would dream about us."

Computer Chess will be out on DVD in November.