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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
In his game as white against an unnamed opponent before the final, Luzhin is shown supposedly checkmating with Rd1-d8, which is an illegal move because his rook at d1 is pinned against his king on h1 by black's rook at c1. 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 »
Defenseless you will be to the charms of this film, all romance lovers out there!
Alexandr "Sascha" Luzhin (John Turturro) is a former leading chess player attempting a comeback at an Italy-hosted tournament. His brilliance is unquestioned but his obsession with chess has stunted his growth in all other aspects of his life. Natalia (Emily Watson) is a beautiful heiress who has come to the same resort with her mother, Vera (Geraldine James) to scope out possible marriage partners. Vera leans toward a handsome count but, astonishingly, Natalia is more fascinated by Sascha, whom she met on a walk. Sascha, too, is taken with Natalia and proposes marriage at their second meeting. But, with the concentration that Sascha must give to the chess matches and, with other happenings in his past still causing problems, will he win the heart of Natalia? Oh, and can he become the chess champion, also? This is a lovely film, based on a novel by Nabokov. The acting is amazing, with Watson very fine as the beautiful little rich girl and Turturro utter perfection as the shy, awkward chess enthusiast. James gives quite a nice turn as the overbearing mother and the other cast members are wonderful as well. As for the look of the film, it could not be better. The scenery is of the put-your-eye-out variety, the vintage costumes are gorgeous and the cinematography is deserving of much applause. Yes, the story is unusual and told with the use of flashbacks, at times, making it a film not everyone will appreciate. Then, too, the ending is bittersweet. However, if you love romance, period pieces, great acting, knockout scenery, or the fine art of motion picture creation, don't miss this one. You will be defenseless in resisting its multitude of charms.
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