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Watching “Computer Chess” is like opening an ancient Altair 8800 to peer at the tiny people inside. Taking place over the course of three days at an anonymous hotel sometime around the dawn of the 1980s, the film follows a motley group of computer wonks as they pit chess-playing algorithms against each other.
Shooting on period video equipment for a blurry, boxy look, writer-director Andrew Bujalski sets his movie at a critical juncture in modern history: The moment just before computers became personal. Rather than make a grand statement, Bujalski gets in close and aims for the poetry of connection — human, electronic, erotic. Even the computers in this movie are lonely. With Boston film critic and teacher Gerald Peary as a fatuous chess nerd.