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Monday, July 18, 2011

Download Bobby Fischer Against The World | HBO Documentary

Bobby Fischer Against The World

Release Date (UK) – 15th July 2011
Certificate (UK) – 12A
Runtime – 93 Minute
Director – Liz Garbus
Country – USA Bobby Fischer Against The World is a compelling yet tragic biographic documentary on the life of the world chess champion, and arguably the best chess player ever, Bobby Fischer. The film follows his bizarre life, beginning from his first introduction to fame when he became the United States Chess Champion at the age of 15, to the famous world chess championships in Iceland in 1972, to his growing delusional paranoia. He discovered chess at the age of 6 and never looked back, and the film expertly portrays how this game from the 6th Century ultimately defined and eventually consumed his life. Bobby’s years of studying and playing chess all led up to the biggest match of his career, The World Chess Championship. This 1972 match against the Russian Boris Spassky became as popular as the American Superbowl at the time, with people taking time off work just to watch it. This, as well as the previous games and tournaments he won, rendered him an iconic figure during the cold war. After disappearing from the public eye for decades he returned in a comeback match with Spassky, both were a shadow of their former selves. However he disobeyed America to play the match in Yugoslavia (which was under UN embargo) which meant he became a wanted man and could not return to his home country. He became increasingly anti-Semitic and anti-American. Although at times difficult to watch ( a particularly awful press conference in which everyone is left speechless is an awkward moment revealing what Fischer has become) the film is a portrait of his troubled genius that reveals many layers to Fischer. Throughout the film there are fascinating interviews with Fischer’s old friends and acquaintances. These are insightful and intercut with original footage of his matches, interviews that he himself gave and brilliant still photographs. The photographs in particular reveal a side which cannot be fully understood through interviews or footage of the matches he played, many of the photographs are of Fischer exercising and swimming which reveal a lighter side to him. Some of the most touching photos are of Fischer walking in the hills once he has won the world chess championship.

Bobby Fischer Against The World is darkly humorous throughout, raising unexpected laughs, especially from the young Fischer’s dry laconic wit. After he wins the World Championship he is asked what he is going to do, his reply was that his goal now was to play more chess, “I don’t feel I’ve played enough chess”. Along with this wit however it is possible to see a man whose psyche deteriorates as his life goes on, becoming more neurotic and paranoid. The sheer scope of the film in impressive, we glimpse into not just his professional chess career but also into his personal life and his lost childhood. His family life was unstable, his mother moved him and his sister around lots when he was young and from this came a disconnection with his mother which never recovered. After only finding out who his father was once he had died this too affected Fischer on a deeply personal level.

Here is an insightful and compelling documentary which follows Bobby Fischer through his turbulent life; the highs of being the chess champion of the world to the devastating lows of paranoia. It appears that his genius and mental illness are joined together and become impossible to separate. Even if you are not a fan of chess (I know next to nothing of the game) this film is captivating and brings an in depth view into Fischer’s life and the genius that he was, and at times how this and his global recognition were his biggest burden. This tale of the rise and fall of a genius is as sad as it is captivating.
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