Director: LIZ GARBUS

93 minutes| U.S.A.-U.K.-Iceland| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema


As this vivid documentary reveals, the term ‘tortured genius’ hardly does justice to chess phenomenon Bobby Fischer, the Brooklyn-born prodigy whose 1972 world championship match against Russian title holder Boris Spassky became a cultural monument of the Cold War era. Director Liz Garbus has unearthed remarkable archive footage showing chess on primetime U.S. TV, topping the news, even drawing crowds in Times Square – such was the degree to which this singular American maverick, and the possibility he might beat the Soviets at their own game, had captured the public imagination. The gamesmanship and strategy which unfolded in the course of the Reykjavik event get their showing here, but the film’s true fascination is the contrast between the earlier TV footage of Fischer the innocent chess-obsessed geek and the distressing images of the man in his final years, ravaged by paranoid schizophrenia. The esteemed interviewees include Henry Kissinger and Gary Kasparov, but the pictures really tell the whole chastening, remarkable story. (Notes by Trevor Johnston). IFI IRISH SHORTS. This screening will include the IFB-funded short animation Paperman directed by Richard Kelly. 6 minutes, 2010, Colour.

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