“Brooklyn Castle” tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Ironically, the biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from recessionary budget cuts to all the extracurricular activates at their school. “Brooklyn Castle” shows how these kids’ dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world’s most difficult game, what can’t they do?
This is an inspiring DVD which chronicles a remarkable school and remarkable students, the students at IS 318 in Brooklyn play chess and happen to play it very well. Several students participate in the Junior High Chess Championships, some on a national level. We see in this documentary the various students with talents who must overcome setbacks and even defeat if they are going to move ahead with their lives and dreams and goals of going to a good high school and college. The DVD also features other schools and their chess program.
You meet a teen girl named Rochelle who wants to be the first African American girl to be a “Master” in chess. You also meet Patrick, Alexis, Justus and Pobo as well as others and you learn their struggles and see their triumphs. A comment worth remembering is that, at this school, the geeks are the athletes! We also meet the principal, Mr. Rubino, and a teacher that is the kind that inspires her students, Ms. Vicary.
We see the school fight back when faced with major cutbacks and you will be amazed at this school’s resourcefulness. We highly recommend this DVD. If not for a few utterances of language, the DVD would be recommended for all ages. As it stands, we recommend it for ages twelve plus and we are pleased to award it our Dove Seal and five Doves, our best rating. Watch this one soon and be inspired!