Set in the late 1920s, The Luzhin Defence tells the story of a shambling, unworldly chess Grand Master who arrives in the Italian Lakes to play the match of his life and unexpectedly finds the love of his life. Discovering his prodigious talent in boyhood overshadowed by his parents' failing marriage, Luzhin's lyrical passion for chess has become his refuge and rendered the real world a phantom. Already matched up by her family to the very suitable Comte de Stassard, when Natalia meets Luzhin, she is drawn to the erratic genius and offers him a glimpse outside of his chess obsession. But it is a world he is not equipped to deal with and his two worlds collide to tragic effect. Written by
A camera operator's reflection is in the window just after Luzhin walks past a piano (about 30 minutes in). See more »
He's defiled you already, hasn't he? That's why you're rushing this ridiculous marriage. You're carrying his child.
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from "Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 2"
Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich (as Dimitri Shostakovich)
Performed by Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest (as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Conducted by Riccardo Chailly
By permission of Boosey & Hawkes Licensing
Courtesy of Decca Record Label Ltd.
Under license from Universal Special Markets
(p) 1992 Decca Records See more »
Part of the enjoyment that I took from this film stemmed from the fact that I knew nothing more about it than that it starred John Turturro and Emily Watson (2 reasons enough to watch), was a period piece and involved chess. Everything that evolved before me was completely unexpected. I shan't, therefore, give away much more. Suffice to say that Turturro is magnificent as an eccentric, obsessive and deeply vulnerable chess genius and Em matches him step for step as the strong-minded woman who is drawn to him. It's about love and obsession, rather than the venerated board game and after drawing me in gradually over the first half hour, became totally compelling. And I defy anyone to second-guess the ending.
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