Chess Fever

For most of us, Russian silent cinema begins and ends with Eisenstein. But Chess Fever, directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin and Nikolai Shpikovsky, is sparkling proof that Russian comedy was more than a match for Hollywood too. Blending original sequences with actual footage of the 1925 Moscow Chess Tournament, it’s a tour de force of comic invention, as a young man’s fiancee begins to realise that he has a mistress: chess. Reflecting the real chess fever of the time, the film has a surreal, satirical edge that’s reminiscent of Bulgakov: this is, after all, the Moscow of The Master and Margarita, which was written in 1928. It’s a hugely entertaining film and a LoCo favourite — enjoy. IMDB has more details and a plot summary.

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