Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Teaser for 'Jurassic World' (4th Movie in Mega Franchise) Surfaces Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Watch Trailer For Controversial Artist Kara Walker’s Film ‘An Audience’ Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Watch Trailer for 'Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed Part 2' (A Fan-Made Film) Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations Watch Uncomfortable Interview Bill Cosby Gave to AP on Rape Allegations  Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne Will Celebrate August Wilson in PBS Special Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime Review: 'Seasons of Love' Might Be Yet Another Train Wreck of a Ratings Bonanza for Lifetime Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Review: 'Brooklyn Castle' (Moving Look At Trials & Triumphs Of A Junior High School's Chess Team)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 17, 2012 at 4:36PM

Review: 'Brooklyn Castle' (Moving Look At Trials & Triumphs Of A Junior High School's Chess Team)
0
Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle (directed by Katie Dallamaggiore) is a documentary about I.S. 318, an inner-city public school that's home to the most-winning junior high school chess team in the country. But a series of deep public school budget cuts now threaten to undermine its hard-won success.

An absolutely wonderfully-produced feature documentary filled with touching, inspirational stories of hope, ambition and perseverance.

In a climate in which "escape" film narratives of youth from working class families and under-represented groups - in this case, specifically black and Latino kids - are dominated by stories in which athletic ability is option number 1 as a means for that escape from socio-economic oppression, the intellectual tension-filled drama that plays out in Brooklyn Castle is most refreshing.

I was moved by the individual narratives of these pre-teen and teenage boys and girls from I.S. 318 (an inner-city school where an overwhelming number of students are from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level) who've invested and sacrificed so, so much to master their chess skills (some of them would rank above Albert Einstein if he were to join the school’s competition team), that you simply can't help but root for them to succeed and reach their individual goals, that range from just simply getting into good colleges in the short term, to running for president in the long term.

And you are absolutely convinced that they can and will achieve those aims, if only based on the academic aptitudes, confidence and conviction on display here from each.

Their parents, who've recognized, nourished and also sacrificed for their childrens' talents, are to be commended here as well for what should be obvious reasons.

4 years in the making, there's a broader narrative in Brooklyn Castle, and that is the economic crises which led to unprecedented public school budget cuts that jeopardize primary school education, and, specifically, the after-school programs like that which is at the center of Brooklyn Castle's tale, and how the potential absence of that necessary funding could drastically affect the lives of the children who rely so heavily on them for sustenance.

Watching the film’s 5 stars – 1 who possesses a natural gift for chess and at just 11 years old (Justus), has been selected to join the US Chess Federation’s All-American team; and another, the sole girl in the group (Rochelle), who’s on her way to becoming the first African American female chess master in the history of the game at just 13 years old – handle immense pressure (the kind of pressure that men and women decades older would likely be crushed under) and thrive, is exhilarating and inspiring.

They’re practically forced to mature much sooner than their peers, and, in my humble opinion, will likely go on to become leaders of tomorrow.

But they’re still very much children, and the wounds of a loss sting as it only could for a child; while the thrill of a win is felt just as deeply, except tears are replaced with magnificent, infectious smiles, which only reinforces for the audience the importance of I.S. 318’s after-school chess program, and others like it – vital for not only the students, but for the schools.

As announced earlier this year, Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin (Searching For Bobby Fischer) purchased the remake rights to Brooklyn Castle, a documentary that premiered at SXSW this year, where it won the audience award for best documentary.

But before that scripted remake happens, you just might be able to see it at a theater near you, because the film will be released by indie distributor Producers Distribution Agency (part of Cinetic Media), starting this Friday, October 19.

Watch the trailer below:

 

This article is related to: Brooklyn Castle


Shadow & ActNewsletter