Ten years ago, filmmaker Andrew Bujalski wrote and directed 2002's Funny Ha Ha, arguably the cinematic origin of the genre known as "mumblecore." He's spread out into other things since then, and nowhere is his inclination for experimentation more apparent in his new feature film Computer Chess, chosen to screen at both Sundance and SXSW this year.
A stickler for the good ol' days of moviemaking, Bujalski shot his previous films on 16mm film and made post-production magic with scissors and tape. He went digital for Computer Chess, appropriately enough; but equally apropos, the equipment used to produce a movie set "thirty-some years ago" was chronologically correct, as Bujalski and crew dug up ancient video cameras from the depths of eBay. And it's just too perfect that the movie immediately spawned a host of animated GIFs, since the form was invented in the same era.
On the face of it, Computer Chess concerns a mechanical chess tournament, but the under- and overcurrents are much more involved and delightfully perverse. Bujalski chats with us about the ubiquity of nerd culture, how to find the perfect actor, and the surprisingly sexual undercurrents that pervade his film.
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