Ray’s acerbic comedy of manners remains one of cinema’s finest dissections of colonialism. Using an exquisite economy of language, Ray tacks between two stories: the East India Company’s maneuverings to remove the sybaritic yet artistically prodigious king of Oudh, and the game-playing of two indolent Lucknowi noblemen who are obsessed with chess. Marrying elegant Technicolor visuals with subtly modulated pacing, Ray’s ironic elegy ultimately serves as an impartial witness to the unfolding games, domestic and international. Restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
Promotional image courtesy of Jay Eccleston