Spanish Academy Award nominee Marc Clotet (The Sleeping Voice 2011) and Melina Matthews (The Returned 2013) star in The Chess Player, Luis Oliveros’s second feature that leaps from the Spanish Civil War to Nazi occupied Paris.
It’s 1934 in Spain. We are introduced to Diego Padilla (Clotet) as he is crowned world chess champion. There he meets Marianne Latour (Matthews), a beautiful French journalist and their whirlwind romance culminates in their marriage and the birth of their baby daughter. Compelled by his wife to flee the dangers of the Civil War, Diego escapes with his family to Paris, but when the city falls to Nazi occupation, Diego is falsely accused of being a spy and sent to an SS prison. His chess skills come to the attention of Colonel Maier (Stefan Weinert), a chess enthusiast, and fate offers Diego a chance to see his family again.
This gorgeously lensed and impeccably detailed film is directly inspired by the life of Alexander Alekhine, a Russian chess player who used his chess skills to protect his wife and escape the war in WWII.