EXPLORE THE COMPLEX LIFE OF A TROUBLED GENIUS: BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD RELEASES DECEMBER 6 ON DVD
“Impressive… a film that is both meditative and exciting, like the game it concerns, and mercilessly penetrating even as it reserves judgment on a man whose outrageousness practically demands it.” – Los Angeles Times
November 17, 2011 –Bobby Fischer was only eight years old when he mastered the game of chess. At 15, he won the U.S. Chess Championship, making him the greatest chess player in the country. After winning the 1972 world championship, Fischer was at the height of his game but relentless press attention, political pressure and a monomaniacal focus on chess ultimately led to his undoing.
Directed by Emmy-winning, Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus (The Farm: Angola, USA; Ghosts of Abu Ghraib), Bobby Fischer Against the World transports viewers to a different era – when a chess champion could be compared to Muhammad Ali and inspire an entire nation. Weaving together news clips and archival footage, rare interviews with Fischer, stunning black-and-white photos and a vibrant soundtrack, Garbus creates a searing portrait of a brilliant, yet troubled man.
The film delves into Fischer’s complex life and career, using the edge-of-your-seat World Chess Championship Match of 1972 against Boris Spassky as its focal point and the metaphor for the larger geo-political context – the Cold War. Witnesses from the match organizer to Fischer’s bodyguard to the U.S. National Security Advisor provide commentary on Fischer’s eccentricities during a match from which he was nearly disqualified. Newscasters often began their program with updates ahead of major news stories. The entire event was broadcast on ABC Sports.
Garbus gained access to Fischer’s nearly impenetrable inner circle, which remains divided in opinion on his “genius” and “madness.” As a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, chess played a pivotal role in Fischer’s life. He spent most of life mastering the game and, although considered brilliant by his peers, his behavior and arrogance often alienated friends and family. Interviews with close associates allude to dysfunction early in life, possibly brought on by family tension and estranged parents.
Fischer’s mental instability intensified and his world view continued to skew. He made anti-Semitic statements and other controversial remarks against the United States. After breaking a U.N. embargo in Yugoslavia for playing a rematch against Spassky, he was banned from returning to the U.S and spent his remaining years in Iceland. In 2008, Fischer died at the age of 64 from an illness that went untreated, but is remembered today as the most extraordinary chess player that ever lived.
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD features exclusive interviews with LIFE photographer Harry Benson, who gained intimate access to Fischer; Henry Kissinger; Dick Cavett; chess champions Gary Kasparov, Susan Polgar, Larry Evans and Dr. Anthony Saldy; authors David Edmonds, Malcom Gladwell and David Shenk; Paul Marshal, Fischer’s personal attorney; Saemi Paullson, his bodyguard; and Harry Sneider, his trainer.
The film won the Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2011 Sundance and Hot Docs Film Festivals. It premiered in the U.S. on HBO in June 2011.
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD is directed by Liz Garbus; executive produced by Dan Cogan, Nick Fraser, Maja Hoffmann, and Martin Pieper; produced by Stanly Buchthal, Rory Kennedy, Matthew Justus, and Liz Garbus; edited by Karen Schmeer and Michael Levine. The DVD includes “A History of Chess” and “The Fight for Fischer’s Estate.”
Pricing: $29.95 US
Runtime: 93 mins. + extras
Catalog #: NNVG259121
Audio Format: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
About Docurama Films
In 1999, NEW VIDEO launched Docurama Films® with the first feature documentary ever available on DVD: D.A. Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back. Twelve years and 300 award-winning, highly-acclaimed titles later, Docurama continues to discover and release the greatest non-fiction films of our time while spreading the word about filmmakers who are taking the form to new heights. Docurama’s catalog features an topics including the performing and visual arts, history, politics, the environment, ethnic and gender interests, and all-time favorites including The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides and King Corn. Recent titles include the 2011 Oscar®-nominated film, Gasland, and the theatrical release of Hell and Back Again.
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Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2011, New Video is a leading entertainment distributor and the largest digital aggregator of independent content worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, with an international presence in 45 territories, the company delivers feature films, TV programs and web originals via digital download, streaming media, video-on-demand, Blu-ray and DVD, and theatrical release. New Video streamlines the distribution and marketing process for filmmakers, producers and brand partners to bring a wide variety of fresh content to new audiences. The company’s library includes original TV series and movies from A+E® Home Entertainment, HISTORY™, and Lifetime®, unforgettable games and trophy sets from Major League Baseball®, storybook treasures from Scholastic®, award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, Arthouse Films, and Plexifilm, next-gen indies and web hits from Flatiron Film Company®, the best in Chinese cinema from China Lion, and festival picks from Tribeca Film. New Video is proud to distribute the 2011 Oscar®-nominated films Gasland, Waste Land and, on digital, Restrepo.
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