The Chess Players (Satyajit Ray; India, 1977)
Famed for its sophistication and faded splendors, the “golden city” of Lucknow provides the perfect backdrop for Ray’s first historical film, a wry elegy set in an 1850s India on the brink of English rule, and shot in an appropriately sumptuous Technicolor. More concerned with personal pleasure than political spheres, two oblivious landowners take refuge in games of chess, little noticing that both they and their country are about to become pawns for an entirely different kind of king and queen.
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