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Pick of the week: Man vs. machine, circa 1980

It’s easy to describe the superficial allure, or maybe anti-allure, of Andrew Bujalski’s film “Computer Chess”: It’s mostly set at a suburban chain motel in the early 1980s, and was shot in black-and-white using a video camera from that period. (“Black-and-white” is a term of art in this case, since the deliberately unlovely, squarish on-screen image is all different shades of dishwater gray.) This turned out to be a difficult undertaking. Since you can’t reliably find tapes or a working tape deck from that era, the video was recorded to a hard drive. If you really want to be a purist about it, this movie is faux-low-tech rather than the real thing.

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