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Queen to Play: Arthouse Chess Film

  • SonofPearl
  • on 10/24/09, 3:09 AM.

It's not uncommon for films to feature scenes with chessboards on display, or even games being played (don't expect the board to be set up correctly, however).  Far more unusual is for a film to use chess as its main theme...

Queen To Play is a French/German film collaboration based on the popular debut novel "La joueuse d'échecs" (The Woman Who Plays Chess) by German-born Bertina Henrichs.  The synopsis:

Hélène, an inquisitive hotel maid in beautiful Corsica, France, becomes entranced by a vacationing couple as they play chess on the balcony of the Hotel Les Roches Rouges.

Tired of her humdrum existence, she quickly cultivates her curiosity for the game into an obsession. Her working-class husband Ange doesn't share her fascination with the game, so she employs the help of the American expat and retired Doctor Kroger whose house she cleans a few times a week. As her passion for the game increases, her natural talent and hard work (done mostly in secret) lead her to a chance at a championship and a new shot at life.

The American expat is played by Kevin Kline, with Sandrine Bonnaire taking the part of Hélène, and Francis Renaud as husband Ange. Also look out for a brief cameo from Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame.

The reviews available are certainly positive (Miami Herald, Variety, Hollywood Reporter) so if you like some arthouse cinema along with your chess, it's one to look out for - if you can find it.  A DVD release in the US is planned for 24 November.

View the trailer below:

(H/T The Closet Grandmaster - again! Smile)

8207 reads 19 comments
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  • 6 years ago


    I hope Sandrine Bonnaire plays a character close to her role in Vagabond... Kevin Kline can do either A Fish Called Wanda or The Big Chill.

  • 6 years ago


    This looks good thanks for the link.Smile

  • 6 years ago


    @patzer24 - I very much doubt it, but we can only hope.

  • 6 years ago


    Looks good, thanks for the heads up!

  • 6 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    Looks like a great film. Any chance it will be produced in English language?

  • 6 years ago


    Alisa Melekhina will be the most beautiful actress ever.

  • 6 years ago


    2:47, smothered mate...

    Looks pretty good.

  • 6 years ago


    Last Tango in Paris. Thats a chess movie.



  • 6 years ago


    I saw this movie and it's very good! The chess players played one of their game without a board, only with their mental representation. I tried to visualised the game but mmm, I'm not as good! But the others games seemed realistic to me. Sandrine Bonnaire is playing her role very convincely. I watched the movie in french, wich is my first language. I hope that the translation will be okay. Anyway, you should watch it!

  • 6 years ago


    I was beat once in a high school tournament by a girl with an accent who said checkmate in the same way as the girl in that trailer. I love accents.

    And I love chess. Looks interesting.

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    Speaking of movies about chess ...... the most realistic and interesting chess I've seen in a film was a German made for TV movie: Schwarz und weiß wie Tage und Nächte (Black and white like days and nights). German with English sub-titles.


    Fabulous chess, great story/writing, excellent acting - unfortunately the production (lighting, sound, etc.) is poor - perhaps I just had a krappy VHS copy.Undecided Directed by Wolfgang Petersen - Lead actor Bruno Ganz. Worth a look! In fact the chess played in the movie is so interesting I've seen articles in chess publications regarding same. I'll bet you quids you use the pause button to examine some of the positions.Smile







    You may find it difficult to track down but the it's worth the effort. No sex, no romance, no happy ending .... just chess and insanity!Smile

  • 6 years ago



    I look forward for this release!

  • 6 years ago


    mixing drama and chess, I wonder if you can make a chess movie without drama

    This looks nice, for men, women and chessplayers!

  • 6 years ago


    Oh, no... not another adultery love story....

  • 6 years ago


    "nice!"  - and yes, they can quote me on that  : )

  • 6 years ago


    will be looking this up, thank you!

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