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Streaming January 14-26, 2022 Digital Screening Room

Germany-Austria | 112 minutes | 2021

Chess Story

North American Premiere

Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the last work of the Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig, completed in Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only days before his death in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on the psychological. While the Nazi troops march into Vienna, the lawyer Josef Bartok hastily tries to escape to the USA with his wife but is arrested by the Gestapo. Bartok remains steadfast and refuses to cooperate with the Gestapo that requires confidential information from him. Thrown into solitary confinement, he is psychologically tormented for months and begins to weaken. However, when he steals an old book about chess it sets him on course to overcome the mental suffering inflicted upon him, until it becomes a dangerous obsession. Nominated for seven German Film Awards and winner of two Bavarian Film Awards, Philipp Stölzl's (The Physician) stellar adaption of Stefan Zweig's international bestseller is a gorgeous cinematic achievement, as stylish as it is emotional until the very last moment.

Director's Bio

Directed by Philipp Stölzl

Director Photo
Philipp Stölzl is a German film director, opera director, and screenwriter. He graduated with a degree in stage designing and later received international recognition for his music video for Rammstein's song "Du Hast." Since then, he has directed six feature films, including the critically acclaimed North Face (2008), Young Goethe in Love (2010), and The Physician (2013).

Cast and Credits


Philipp Stölzl


Eldar Grigorian


Thomas W. Kiennast


Sven Budelmann


Clemens Berndorff, Samuel Finzi, Gerhard Flödl

Film Info






112 minutes


German with English subtitles
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