IMDb > Check and Mate (2001)

Check and Mate (2001) More at IMDbPro »La regina degli scacchi (original title)


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5.6/10   46 votes »
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Release Date:
14 June 2002 (Italy) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Maria Adele is a 17-year-old chess prodigy who is tormented by terrible nightmares. Although she knows... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Excellent Psychological Drama See more (4 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Barbora Bobulova ... Maria
Toni Bertorelli ... Sterlizia
Ettore Bassi ... Emilio
Massimo De Rossi ... Arrigo
Felice Andreasi ... Judge
Valeria D'Obici ... Maria's Mother
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Doriana Baldoni
Roberto Di Palma
Giovanni Vettorazzo

Directed by
Claudia Florio 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Claudia Florio 

Produced by
Maurizio Pastrovich .... line producer
Gianni Schettini .... producer
 
Original Music by
Luis Bacalov 
 
Cinematography by
Luciano Tovoli 
 
Film Editing by
Alessio Mazzoni 
 
Production Design by
Bruno Cesari 
 
Costume Design by
Lia Francesca Morandini 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Alessandro Trapani .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Stefano Morbidelli .... stand-by props
 
Sound Department
Paolo Amici .... sound effects editor
Marta Billingsley .... sound editor
Pierre-Yves Lavoué .... sound mixer
Daniele Quadroli .... sound effects editor
David Quadroli .... sound effects editor
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Roberto De Angelis .... Steadicam operator
Alessandro Gentili .... assistant camera
Alberto Torrecilla .... second assistant camera
Carlo Vinciguerra .... gaffer
Francesco Zaccaria .... electrician
 
Other crew
Paolo Sciarretta .... production assistant
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La regina degli scacchi" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
USA:98 min | Italy:98 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Excellent Psychological Drama, 30 November 2004

It is said that 'art imitate life'. Well, in this case it may be said that 'Life imitates Chess'. This is one of the best well constructed psychological dramas I've seen for a while.

In a lot of ways the plot and characterization remind me of the Guatama Bhudda story in which the heroine,Maria has been shielded by her loving parents especially the father from the disgusting things and terrors of life. She is bought up in an environment of good food, classical music and Chess, at which she is a genius and mentored by a great master of the game,a magistrate of a Family Court. Maria also has dreadful psychological problems in that she hates being touched, is somewhat emotionally unstable and is abnormally obsessed with Chess.

Along comes this reporter, Emilio Sasso who sniffs out a scandalous story about her Chess master who works at the Italian Family Court and has been convicted of being a child rapist and pedophile. He befriends Maria to get more information and dirt on him. This is the start of the plot in which human beings manipulate one another like chess pieces and where scenes are inter weaved and juxtaposed with dog-eat-dog Competition Chess playing where Marie annihilates her opponents without mercy who are the absolute best in their field.

The similarity of the Bhudda story kicks in when Marie discovers a letter by her late mother that she was adopted.

The Judge upon realizing that both his life and career are about to be ruined appeals to Marie to persuade Emilio who by this time has become romantically interested in her to not publish his story. Marie is disgusted and refuses. The Judge counter-moves and offers to reveal the name of her birth mother should she accept a challenge to a Chess game and win. The Judge is so brilliant that he doesn't even have to look at the board while he is playing and makes decisions so fast that he doesn't even need a clock. To put Marie off her game, he confesses the graphic details of his child raping and pedophilia in the past. This is abhorrent but she is still focused and wins. The Judge reveals the names of her birth parents.

Eventually, Emilio writes his scandalous story and ruins the Chess Master's life. The Judge is driven to suicide. Emilio regrets that the man took his life but he does not apologize to anyone for having written and publishing the newspaper story. He loves Marie but she won't let him touch her.

She must at this point find out who her birth mother really was. Eventually, it unfolds that she was a murderess who stabbed her husband, Marie's father 9 times because according to her court testimony, she discovered him raping Marie as child on the kitchen table. She leaves her foster father and the excellent environment of her cultured home to find her real mother. She goes to live with her mother in a depressing environment and finds that she is extremely emotionally scarred and very psychologically unstable somewhat like herself.

I will not ruin the brilliant mind-blowing twist for those who may be interested but the irony of Chess as a leit-motiv and metaphor with self-discovery and the pursuit of truth is most satisfying.

Acting performances, the script and photography are all brilliant.

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