On The Film

  • Algorithms is an inspiring documentary about young blind chess players from India. This first feature film by Ian and Geetha, is a true work of passion that, to me, expresses the cinematic beauty and power of documentary. I hope you will agree.

    A.R.Rahman , , India

  • Their spirit to play chess just like anyone else is very powerful. They do not wish to be patronized by providing them handicaps. They prefer to be beaten fairly rather than a politically correct draw. This is what I admire most in them. I wish Ian McDonald all the very best. We have been in touch from the time he started making this movie. My heart is always with the project.

    Viswanathan Anand , , India

  • Algorithms is a wonderful film – beautiful to watch, engrossing, with great characters and a brilliant insight into their world.

    Nick Broomfield , Filmmaker, UK

  • Algorithms is a marvellous film. It is a real achievement and I really loved the black and white that worked so beautifully.

    Kim Longinotto , Filmmaker, UK

  • What a huge viewing pleasure! Algorithms is absolutely wonderfully shot, impeccably edited and with a range of engaging characters all of whom are portrayed with charm, wonderful insight and immense humanity.

    John Akomfrah , Filmmaker, UK

  • I loved this film. It is all that a documentary should be. Unobtrusive and compassionate without being sentimental, sympathetic without being condescending. In short, very good.

    Shyam Benegal , Filmmaker, India

  • There are very few pieces of art that take you in and let you absorb the art as a quiet, intense observer within. In Algorithms it is the air, light, sound, breath, silence, movement, stillness, language and life itself that envelops you. You are within and even you don’t know you are. There are so many layers to the individuals and their lives. We will interpret the thoughts of the boys, coaches, parents and the environments based on what we have experienced in life. The beauty is that every interpretation is true. It is extraordinary that Ian McDonald has let us into this special chess world with no barrier in between, yet there is no intrusion. This is a documentary film that respects every moment of the lives of the chess players, their coaches and parents. When they speak to the camera it is only an articulation of their thoughts and not an answer to a question. It is a delicate film that lets you feel every nuance as it happens, even before it happens and stays with you long after the film ends. It is intense not because the subject compels you to be moved. In fact the movie does not ask you to cry or feel sorry for the blind. Algorithms teaches you to be ‘alive’. That is indeed rare.

    T.M. Krishna , Karnatik vocalist and author, India

  • The original version of chess was developed in India about 1500 years ago and it has always been played as a game of mathematical possibilities. Algorithms, a stunning independent black-and-white film, transforms the cerebral idea of calculation into a captivating lyric of touch, celebrating the indomitable will, spirit and humanity of young blind players from India. Made over a four-year period Algorithms follows a teacher and his three young protégés, all sight- deprived, through competitive tournaments, as they play the world’s most beloved game in which seeing matters not as much as thought. Ian McDonald, director / cameraman / editor, and Geetha J., the producer, have created an exceptional experience detailing carefully and movingly, the seemingly impossible.

    Laurence Kardish , Former Curator of Film, MoMA

  • Algorithms is a splendid film that succeeds in the very difficult task of following a number of characters over several years in diverse locations. In tracking the fortunes of young blind chess players in India, it shows a deep respect for the individuals involved, the game of chess itself, and above all for the audience, never succumbing to the temptation to oversimplify or sensationalize its subject.

    Professor David MacDougall , Filmmaker and anthropologist, Australia

  • Filmed over three years about blind chess players from India fighting against the odds and triumphing over their disabilities, this beautiful and stunning film goes deep inside the human condition.

    Dr Mike Yorke , Ethnographic filmmaker, UK