6.9/10
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The Luzhin Defence (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 8 September 2000 (UK)
Trailer
2:13 | Trailer

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Two worlds collide when an eccentric genius falls in love with a strong-willed society beauty.

Director:

Marleen Gorris

Writers:

Vladimir Nabokov (novel), Peter Berry (screenplay)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Turturro ... Luzhin
Emily Watson ... Natalia
Geraldine James ... Vera
Stuart Wilson ... Valentinov
Christopher Thompson Christopher Thompson ... Stassard
Fabio Sartor ... Turati
Peter Blythe ... Ilya
Orla Brady ... Anna
Mark Tandy ... Luzhin's Father
Kelly Hunter ... Luzhin's Mother
Alexander Hunting Alexander Hunting ... Young Luzhin
Alfredo Pea Alfredo Pea ... 1st Official
Fabio Pasquini Fabio Pasquini ... 2nd Official
Luigi Petrucci Luigi Petrucci ... Santucci
Carlo Greco Carlo Greco ... Hotel Manager
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Storyline

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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His love dictates every move.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

8 September 2000 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Luzhin Defense See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,203, 22 April 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,051,811, 26 August 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

A cameraman and camera are reflected in the car window as Luzhin prepares to go to the wedding (about the 1:33 mark). See more »

Quotes

Vera: He's defiled you already, hasn't he? That's why you're rushing this ridiculous marriage. You're carrying his child.
See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz 2
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 »

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User Reviews

 
A good movie but too much literary baggage
26 September 2000 | by Andy - CardiffSee all my reviews

'The Luzhin Defence' is a good film with fine central performances, but too much of the novel and not enough of the filmmaker's craft shines through. It felt through most of the film that the characters just helped to push the narrative along. Marlene Gorris could perhaps have examined the psyche of Luzhin, rather than depicting him as a tortured innocent victim torn apart by the cruel motives of others.

Adapting literature for the screen is clearly a difficult task, especially a novel written in the early 20th century. This film does not go deeply enough into the relationship between Luzhin and Natalia. Natalia's rift with her mother comes across a churlish disagreement by the mother rather than a dramatic flashpoint in the film. I felt that I was put through Luzhin's torment and eventual tragic end, without being given the pleasure of having his unusual and complex personality unravelled. However, this was a moving and enjoyable film but certainly not a great one.


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