June 6, 2011

Movie On TV: “Bobby Fischer Against the World”

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Written by: Mitch Salem


A program note:  tonight at 9PM, HBO will premiere the documentary BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD, which screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; it will then air many more times on the network’s channels.  It’s a fascinating, extremely well structured look at a point in 1970s pop culture history that’s been largely forgotten in the US, when the young New Yorker Fischer, just for a moment, made chess the national sport.  Fischer, who at first seemed eccentrically neurotic, turned out to be deeply disturbed, and sank from that peak into a morass of anti-semitic paranoia (he was himself Jewish).; his story was ultimately a tragedy and a fall from grace  Liz Garbus’ compelling film doesn’t attempt to explain Fischer’s intricate contradictions, but it feels as though she’s assembled every scrap of information available about them.  The film is well worth watching. 

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."