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Chess Story (2023)

Opens on March 3

Director: Philipp Stölzl Run Time: 112 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2021

Starring: Albrecht Schuch, Andreas Lust, Birgit Minichmayr, Oliver Masucci, Samuel Finzi

Country: Germany, Austria
Language: German

About the film:

Nominated for seven German Film Awards and winner of two Bavarian Film Awards.

Vienna, 1938: Austria is occupied by the Nazis. Just as Dr. Josef Bartok is about to flee to America with his wife Anna, he is arrested and taken to Hotel Metropol, the Gestapo headquarters. As a notary to the aristocracy, he is tasked with helping the local Gestapo leader gain access to their private bank accounts.

After refusing to cooperate, Bartok is put in solitary confinement. He remains steadfast for months, until one day he happens upon a chess book. To withstand the psychological torture and isolation inflicted upon him by the Gestapo, Bartok disappears into the world of chess in search of salvation and inner freedom.

Based on the 1941 novella by Stefan Zweig.

“craftily melds the genres of period drama and psychological thriller”

—William Repass, Slant Magazine

About the filmmaker:

Philipp Stölzl is a German film director, opera director, and screenwriter. He graduated with a degree in stage designing and later received international recognition for his music video for Rammstein’s song “Du Hast.” Since then, he has directed six feature films, including the critically acclaimed North Face (2008), Young Goethe in Love (2010), The Physician (2013), and Chess Story (2023). He also directed the music videos for Garbage’s Bond theme “The World is Not Enough” and for artists such as Evanescence, Mick Jagger, Marius Müller-Westernhagen, and Madonna. Stölzl’s work for the opera stage includes a production of Charles Gounod’s Faust in 2008 and Giuseppe Verdi’s Il trovatore in 2013.

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