Joueuse (Queen to Play)

Poster for Joueuse (Queen to Play)

Spring 2011 Features series

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 8:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Caroline Bottaro

Screenplay by Caroline Bottaro

Based on the book by Bertina Henrichs

Starring Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline, Francis Renaud, Jennifer Beals

Rated PG · 1h 37m
France, Germany
English, French

View trailer

Joueuse (Queen to Play)

After chambermaid Hélène (the luminous Sandrine Bonnaire) glimpses an American couple (Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould) playing chess in the upscale Corsican resort where she works, she becomes obsessed with the game and what it represents to her. The couple’s casually sexy interplay and wealth are in stark contrast to the hand-to-mouth existence of Hélène and her family (a construction worker husband and surly teenage daughter).

Writer-director Caroline Bottaro, who adapted the screenplay from Bertina Henrichs’ 2005 novel, The Chess Player, has crafted a feminist tale that’s part Pygmalion and part ’70s women’s-film, with chess being both a tool for self-growth and a spark for Hélène’s previously untapped intellectual prowess.

She is helped on her path to self-fulfillment by the curmudgeonly Dr. Kröger (Kevin Kline in his first French-speaking role), whose house she cleans for extra cash and who clandestinely tutors her on the finer points of the game, and life, in a liaison that radically transforms both of their lackluster lives.

The supporting cast is uniformly fine, but the film rests on the delicate shoulders of Bonnaire, who carries it with a soulful, magnetic presence. From E.Hardy & others