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A middle-aged maid with few prospects before her finds a new lease on life via the game of chess, in this unusual tale that marked the first directorial go-round of acclaimed scriptwriter Caroline Bottaro (Caroline Bottaro). French screen siren Sandrine Bonnaire (Sandrine Bonnaire) stars as Hélène, a Frenchwoman employed as a housekeeper in a posh Corsican hotel. Though devoted and diligent as a wife and mother, she lacks any real passion in her life. That changes in a single, defining instant when Helene espies a mysterious couple (the female played by Jennifer Beals) exchanging erotic glances and seductive gestures over a chessboard, on a nearby balcony. Feeling sexual arousal, Hélène misguidedly tries to parlay this into her own personal life by giving her boatworker husband an electronic chessboard, but the connection between this and a need for greater intimacy eludes him. Hélène's curiosity about chess nonetheless endures, and when she fails to teach herself to play sans assistance, she turns to an eccentric, reclusive American whose house she cleans, Dr. Kroger (Kevin Kline) and asks him to mentor her in the game. In time, her expertise outstrips Kroger's and she begins to live and breathe chess, but this very passion also threatens to alienate the woman's family, who perceive a form of infidelity in this new obsession. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

  • Release date:April 1, 2011


Sandrine Bonnaire
as Hélène
Kevin Kline
as Dr. Kroger
Francis Renaud
as Ange
Jennifer Beals
as The American Woman
Valerie Lagrange
as Maria
Alice Pol
as Natalia
Elisabeth Vitali
as Marie-Jeanne
Dominic Gould
as The American Man
Laurence Colussi


Dominique Besnehard
Michel Feller
Jean-Claude Larrieu
Nicola Piovani
Composer (Music Score)
Emmanuel de Chauvigny
Set Designer
Dorothee Guiraud
Costume Designer
Erwan Kerzanet
Sound/Sound Designer
Emmanuel Croset
Sound/Sound Designer
Selim Azzazi
Sound/Sound Designer