Black & White

“To and Fro, Stop and Go, That’s what makes the world go ’round” -The Sword in The Stone

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Quite recently I’ve fallen in love with the game of Chess. It was Anya Taylor-Joy’s (The Witch, Split) dazzling performance in Netflix’s mini-series, “The Queen’s Gambit,” as fictional 60’s chess savant, Beth Harmon, that captivated my heart and mind. The series (8-eps) is fantastic! Very high-quality production. The gorgeous set designs and 60s styled characters are a feast for your eyes. And the story is very well written / edited.

The Queen’s Gambit instilled in me a passion for this game that I never could have foreseen. I’d barely even played Chess before the show was released on 10/23/20. Since re-watching the series in recent weeks, I have begun playing multiple matches a day on chess.com (against computers, mostly). Learning the theories behind openings (Game-plans, essentially) piece formations, etc., it’s all very addicting!. And chess.com makes the game infinitely more fun by letting you choose from like 50 or more different bots of varying skill levels, with different personalities! (Can you tell yet that I’m hopelessly obsessed 🙂

I’m simultaneously working on a movie montage about the theme of darkness and light (Yin & Yang, if you will.) I can’t help but notice the parallel to the colors of the pieces on the Chess board, and their relationship to each other. The Yin&Yang koi fish devour each other, just as the black and white pieces dance on the chess board.

The Taoist depiction of Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang are forces of nature, or elements of the human experience that beget one another. For example, dark and light, hot and cold. You can’t say something is “cold” unless you know what something hot feels like. Similarly, no chess move makes any sense unless it is to try and gain strategic advantage over the opposite color of pieces. Both colors are evenly matched. Actually, white has a slight advantage because white always plays first. Practically, one side has to get the ball rolling. Human understanding necessitates that we enter duality on one side or the other. And, only by understanding one side can the other be understood. Sound familiar here? Some of my blogger friends have wisely instructed me here before🙂☯

Is The Glass Half Full or Half Empty? One idea the YinYang symbolizes is the paradox that opposites can coexist. In the U.S. film editing (My hobby here) is called “cutting,” while in its English cousin countries – The U.K. and Australia, the process is called “joining.” (Is this still true, my UK friends?) And both are correct! Because for every cut that is made in a film reel, that piece of film is then rejoined to another piece of film in order to make the final movie. Walter Murch (Editor of Apocalypse Now) talks about this concept in his very insightful book I’m reading, “In The Blink of an Eye.”

Just wanted to share my comparative observations here between Chess and the philosophy between Yin and Yang. What’s your take on the philosophy? Have you played chess before? What did you think of The Queen’s Gambit? Did you like it as much as I did? Hope you enjoyed reading and let me know if this subject fascinates you in the comments!

Have a great weekend.

E.F.

P.S. By accident, I am almost referenced the quote as being from, “The Sword and The Stone” What a movie THAT would be, right? 😅

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2 thoughts on “Black & White

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  1. Ah the balance of Light and Dark….The Force runs strong through this post! I have always said that the Jedi (or Sith) had to have an appreciation/understanding of the other side and both have to exist in some form at the same time to achieve balance. Chess is a great example of the equal and opposite philosophy. In Chess however there is a winner and a loser (usually) which leads to a rematch…so the tug of war continues. I used to play a long time ago on my PC but other new hobbies took over.
    And in the UK we call the process of manipulating film clips as “editing” which takes place in the “cutting room”. But having said that with the advancement in tech a lot of movie editing is done in 4K digital studios on high powered computers so we just have rooms called “Production Suites” and the process is called video editing. It’s sad in a way as there is a tangible feeling, a connection, when you physically “cut” pieces of film (and audio tape) then reconnect the ends to create the finished product. I have edited both movie and audio using the old Splicing Machine and Chinagraph Pencil. (The trick to film editing is to align the “Tractor Holes” which as you’ll know are the rows of holes at the top and bottom of the film strip so that the frame apertures align – and audio tape editing requires that you cut the tape at a 45deg angle to avoid the resulting joins making a “clicking” noise as they roll over the tape machine heads).

    Thanks and I might have to take up Chess again so I can be a Jedi and Chess Grand Master 😁

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    1. Hi FT, thank you for mentioning Star Wars here, as I hoped you would, as that is perhaps the greatest depiction of light and dark in all of lore!

      That is very cool that you’ve cut both film and audio using the old splicing machine!I have not yet had the opportunity to do that. There is an old moviola at my film school, but of course we aren’t allowed in the building right now. I Have heard about the 45 deg angle technique of cutting. Yes, similar to a way a barber might “point cut” hair to make it it lay better on head.

      Thanks for commenting! Cheers🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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