On HBO Tonight: “Bobby Fischer Against the World”

I may have been a little harsh in my headline for my review of “Bobby Fischer Against the World” over at Spout. It’s really not a bad film, just not as focused or pointed as it could have been, I guess. I still found most of Fischer’s story very interesting, mostly thanks to the people telling it through the interview material. If you have HBO and love docs you’ll find some enjoyment in it tonight, 9pm (and subsequently On Demand through 9/11 if you miss the premiere). Here’s an excerpt from my review:

It’s also an interesting doc to watch after either (or both) “The Tree of Life,” with its simplistic dealings with Heideggerian ideas (which someone like Fischer must have shared, even if he didn’t read the philosopher, and I’m not just referring to their mutual Antisemitism), and “X-Men First Class,” which relates to Fischer’s 1972 World Championship win against Boris Spassky in that they both involve exploitation of the Cold War for popular entertainment (in the X-Men universe, were there also evil mutants at play in Reykjavik that summer?). More than a decade before “Rocky IV” and years prior to the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the U.S. and USSR (depicted in “Miracle”), the East vs. West tension played out over a chess board.

Check out the UK trailer, which I posted recently, here.

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Trailer: “Bobby Fischer Against the World”

One documentary that keeps eluding me this year is “Bobby Fischer Against the World.” Directed by Oscar nominee Liz Garbus (“The Farm: Angola, USA”), the film premiered at Sundance, where I couldn’t fit it in, and later screened at the Miami International Film Festival, where I again missed it. It’s about to debut on HBO on June 6 (airing through September 11). Before then, though, you can see the doc on the big screen in NYC for one night only next Thursday, June 2, as part of IFC Center’s Stranger Than Fiction series (the summer season of which begins tonight). Garbus will be there for a Q&A, also, so be sure to get tickets in advance here.

As for what it’s about, this should be clear from the title. Of course, people thought “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was going to be about the chess legend, so maybe a title with his name isn’t exactly so obvious. But it is about Fischer, and “the disturbingly high price [he] paid to achieve his legendary success and the resulting toll it took on his psyche.” Also of note: this is the last work edited by the late, great Karen Schmeer, who was killed in 2010.

Watch a trailer made by Dogwoof, who will distribute the doc in the UK July 15, after the jump.

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