Sometimes, in an effort to find an identity, an artist inadvertently creates a monster. On numerous occasions, Andrew Bujalski expressed regret for introducing the term mumblecore into the mainstream – the filmmaker/actor helped establish the movement with his film Funny Ha Ha, but felt the term marginalized his works, as well as those by fellow auteurs like Joe Swanberg and Joe Katz. Like his contemporaries, Bujalski has tried to separate himself from the sub-genre, and his new film could do just that.
A teaser trailer for the award-winning Sundance selecton Computer Chess hit the web, and I dare anyone, be they blogger or critic, to categorize the strange title. Presented as archival documentary footage from 1980, the dry comedy follows an eccentric group of computer programmers who meet for a competition. The images are startling in their accuracy, from the period-specific costumes and hair styles, to the degraded look of decades-old black and white video. To call it memorable would be an understatement. See trailer (via Trailer Addict) and synopsis below:
Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.
Computer Chess will also screen at SXSW in March, but has not set a release date.