Chess Player, a film about my friend Xavier

A saw a film about a friend who left this world four years ago. The prototype of the trainer Sylvanas (Gerard Depardieu) was the Parisian chess player and coach Xavier Parmentier . Therefore, the film, which my friends and I saw in the Lumiere cinema, turned out to be more than just a film. And it’s not easy to write about it.

Firstly, this is a very good picture. The actors play great, both the kid and Isabelle Nanti known for Amelie. All is there: the psychology of a chess game, moments of struggle andexact quotes of great players of the past. Depardieu, of course, is a genius. Chess players, in particular, Sergey Shipov and Evgeny Egorov, already noted the absence of technical mistakes. But the main thing, of course, is that the film is in keeping with humanist idea. The very idea that made France the greatest of the modern cultures.


And the great merit of the filmmakers is that they were able to show the main character traits of Xavier Parmentier. Of course, Depardieu plays a much more solid and strong personality than my friend. This is artistic truth. It is the creation of a truthful image.

The film is based on real events, and key points are shown perfectly. The documents of a twelve-year-old chess player from Bangladesh, wandering in France, fell into the office of the French government shortly before the presidential election. Sarkozy and his cabinet fought a fierce battle with Hollande. But on Saturday evening, just before the election, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said: “Let’s definitely work on this dossier. Not the fact that we will be back here on Monday. ” Around 6:30 p.m., Fahim's papers were signed. This was the last document of the Sarkozy government, Holland won the election the next day. Can you imagine a similar scenario to happen in our country? I can’t.
Other moments of the struggle of ordinary Frenchmen for the fate of a talented teenager and his father are also impressive. What’s amazing is that he was a ‘nobody’ to them. But this is France. The film is saturated with healthy French humour with many vulgar words but without any callous thoughts. Depardieu, like Parmentier, does not tolerate hypocrisy, he is a friend and older brother, and not the one who may be called a "tutor". Some of the details (the jokes of the students about the way he dressed) were directly about Xavier and this made this film unique, just like a personal meeting with my friend.
In the second year of my life in Cannes, I was invited to work in the youth national team of France on the recommendation of Parmentier. I spent five years with the team as a result. Then we didn’t even know each other, and it was only at the 2002 World Cup in Greece that I met this fat Parisian. And until his death (from cancer), we worked together and were friends. For a while, he even trained me, and my best achievements were during this period. Parmentier introduced me to his left and republican Paris. He always said that he misses Paris.
After a high-profile story with Fahim, he wrote a book that was a huge success, and immediately, back in 2015, they started to talk of a film adaptation. However, then a terrible disease was discovered.
We saw him in the spring of 2016 two months before his death. He joked a lot and was full of optimism. It seemed that the worst was over. Alas, that was not the case. But until the last day, Xavier Parmentier coached (often for free) children. These were not only chess lessons. He taught how to have a humanistic outlook on life. Sometimes he used to pay for his students in a restaurant and say: “Once I was also young and poor. So save your euros.”
There is a wonderful episode in the film where Depardieu praises his work. Parmentier didn’t like to speak so highly about that. But I think he would be glad to hear that.
Murtas Kazhgaleev, Grandmaster
Editors’ note. Exactly a year ago, we already wrote about this film. Then the film was just being made. Now you can watch it. Fahim Mohammad is a young chess player, originally from Bangladesh, who immigrated to France. Chess Player starring Gerard Depardieu is about the story of his life. Fahim is a real character. Here are some facts about his life. A boy from Bangladesh was in exile in Paris with his father, an illegal immigrant. Thanks to the ancient game, the boy who won the national chess championship was awarded in France.
Despite all the hardships, ups and downs, and also changing luck, Fahim, having a high rating and the title of FIDE master, steadily followed his chess profession.