Eccentrics in Love

The Luzhin Defence

John Turturro plays a chess master who meets his mate in Emily Watson
John Turturro plays a chess master who meets his mate in Emily Watson

Gorris herself takes a measured, respectful stance towards this project. Gorris's shift here, to directing material from other writers, is a telling one. There's not much personal statement in evidence, merely craft. Gorris's camera, mostly confined to locked-down conventional shots and slow, unobtrusive dolly movements, lacks much energy or statement. The soft warm hues of Italy are balanced by the cool dark Russian memory scenes. Jany Temime's costumes are lovely. All's well wrought and little's well thought, remarkably similar in effect to the festival opener, The Golden Bowl, another literary adaptation without much conviction. In a recent statement Gorris spoke tellingly, if inadvertently, about her work: "I both wrote and directed my first four films and in those scripts I said all that I needed to say -- for the moment, that is."

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