April 19, 2014
Brooklyn Castle is a feel good documentary about a wildly successful chess program at a Brooklyn school where over 60% of their kids are living below the poverty line. Chess becomes the thing they focus on (and excel at) – keeping them from getting into trouble in their neighbourhoods while strengthening their overall learning skills.
The documentary follows the kids as they inhale chess advice, compete in chess tournaments, and talk about their future (getting into a “good” high school and college – and having a good career). The documentary also takes place during a time where government cut backs threaten after-school programs.
One favourite moment is when a student who has hasn’t won a game all tournament (lowering his teams score in the process) finally wins one and, upon winning, consoles the opponent.
I recommend! (4/5 @ HotDocs)
(This review originally written in May 2012)