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BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activities at their school. BROOKLYN CASTLE shows how these kids' dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world's most difficult game, what can't they do?
I love this Film --Roger Ebert
Enlightening, inspiring and expertly crafted --Stephanie Merry, Washington Post
Irresistible --Manohla Dargis, New York Times
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It shows the struggle that each player has in their conquest to win. They are having to fight not just the other competitors but the money factor it takes to get to the tournaments.
We've rewatched several times.
Very well done documentary takes you into private places in the schools and homes in Brooklyn
where two tireless teachers give their last ounce of energy to bring the world of chess to students
who embrace it as their whole world. Their tenacity and focus on the game against the backdrop of
poverty and budget cuts of the inner-city is fascinating and uplifting. Every middle school student
should be required to watch this movie. It is a learning tool on so many levels. Sounds like I'm gushing
but i really can't say enough about this one. My favorite so far this year.
Documentaries involving live events and featuring young persons as the primary subjects are certainly a challenge to any film-maker. Katie Dellamaggiore and her colleagues nevertheless do a great job creating a nicely filmed, edited and paced story. In many ways, it is reminiscent of the academy award winning "Chariots of Fire" in that both follow the competitive and personal stories of teammates working towards both individual and team success.
The ultimate theme of the film is that young people who are motivated, well-taught, and who have caring parents & teachers can accomplish almost anything.
The film follows the kids through their ups and downs, the struggles that they face in pursuing their passion. The life lessons are many and are outstandingly demonstrated.
The highly successful chess team at a middle school in an impoverished Brooklyn neighborhood has given the school and its students pride in themselves, a sense of self-worth, a belief that they can achieve, a sense of hope.
However, there is a questionable subtext concerning funding for extracurricular school programs - an agenda that one can never, ever spend too much money on "education," no matter how remote from basic subjects such as English and history. The incredible success of the chess program at this school makes it worthy of funding, but the implication every after-school activity ought to receive generous funds may annoy some viewers.