THE LUZHIN DEFENSE is an adaptation of the Vladimir Nabokov novel shot by the Dutch director Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line) in 2000.
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Aleksandr Luzhin has just arrived in this Italian resort in order to take part in the world chess competition. A solitary and eccentric man, Luzhin lives only for the chess game, until the day he meets Natalia Katkov, a young Russian woman who's spending her holiday with her mother in the same resort.
Despite her mother's advice, Natalia accepts Luzhin's advances and falls in love with him. The Russian master defeats his first adversaries and enjoys happiness for the first time in his life. He must now face the Italian world champion who has hired Leo Valentinov, Luzhin's former impresario, in order to unhinge the Russian genius.
Stressed by the events, Luzhin undergoes a nervous breakdown after the first day and is asked by his doctor to give up chess if he wants to live a long life. Natalia takes care of him although her parents strongly disapprove her forthcoming marriage with Luzhin. She also must protect him from Valentinov who has not given up the idea to talk Luzhin into finishing his match with his Italian adversary.
The review of this Movie prepared by Daniel Staebler
Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin (Turturro) is a gifted chess master who has come to a northern Italian resort in the late 1920s to try to win the championship. Also there is Natalia Katkov (Watson), a wealthy and calm but headstrong girl who is not particularly interested in her mother Vera's (Page) plan to marry her to Count Jean de Stassard (Christopher Thompson). Natalia becomes fascinated by Luzhin, who is simple and direct but plagued by memories of his unhappy childhood and parents' failed marriage. Leo Valentinov (Wilson), a decent chess player and confidence man who managed Luzhin's career for more than a decade, is also at the resort hoping to break Luzhin's concentration in favor of the Italian champion, Turati (Fabio Sartor). Though Luzhin and Natalia decide to marry, their two worlds collide and cannot intermix. This 2000 film directed by Marleen Gorris, best known for "Antonia's Line," is lovely, but too cool despite the fine efforts of the leads, and it waters down the Vladimir Nabokov novel, The Defense, on which it is based.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus