"'Algorithms' is a completely unique film, unlike any other documentary you might see this year, both for its content and its form. But while it is that, it is also a deeply absorbing, timeless, universal tale with themes anyone can find inspiration in: triumph over adversity, family love, and a deep respect for the spirit of competition and the tradition of an ancient game." - Katie Walsh, Indiewire
"A winning documentary that develops into a story as intense and focused as its subjects." - Henry Barnes, The Guardian
"The boys have their ups and downs around the chessboard but McDonald does not engineer an artificial narrative arc of triumph out of adversity, and the film allows each boy to follow his own path without judgment"
- Rebecca Naughten, Eye For Film
"A powerful, engaging film. McDonald’s cinematography is superb."- D. Schwartz,CineSource Magazine
"Soulful…the artistry with which the boys confront everyday life, as well as the chess board, is deeply moving."
- Chuck Wilson, The Village Voice
"The original version of chess was developed in India about 1500 years ago and it has always been played as a game of mathematical possibilities. Algorithms, a stunning independent black- and-white film, transforms the cerebral idea of calculation into a captivating lyric of touch, celebrating the indomitable will, spirit and humanity of young blind players from India. Made over a four-year period Algorithms follows a teacher and his three young protégés, all sight-deprived, through competitive tournaments, as they play the world’s most beloved game in which seeing matters not as much as thought. Ian McDonald and Geetha J. have created an exceptional experience detailing carefully and movingly, the seemingly impossible."- Laurence Kardish, Former Curator, MoMA, New York
"I loved this film. It is all that a documentary should be. Unobtrusive and compassionate without being sentimental, sympathetic without being condescending. In short, very good."- Shyam Benegal, Filmmaker
"There are very few pieces of art that take you in and let you absorb the art as a quiet, intense observer within. In Algorithms it is the air, light, sound, breath, silence, movement, stillness, language and life itself that envelops you. You are within and even you don’t know you are. There are so many layers to the individuals and their lives. We will interpret the thoughts of the boys, coaches, parents and the environments based on what we have experienced in life. The beauty is that every interpretation is true. It is extraordinary that Ian McDonald has let us into this special chess world with no barrier in between, yet there is no intrusion. This is a documentary film that respects every moment of the lives of the chess players, their coaches and parents. When they speak to the camera it is only an articulation of their thoughts and not an answer to a question. It is a delicate film that lets you feel every nuance as it happens, even before it happens and stays with you long after the film ends. It is intense not because the subject compels you to be moved. In fact the movie does not ask you to cry or feel sorry for the blind. Algorithms teaches you to be ‘alive’. That is indeed rare."
- T.M. Krishna, Karnatik Vocalist and Author
"Algorithms is a splendid film that succeeds in the very difficult task of following a number of characters over several years in diverse locations. In tracking the fortunes of young blind chess players in India, it shows a deep respect for the individuals involved, the game of chess itself, and above all for the audience, never succumbing to the temptation to oversimplify or sensationalize its subject."- Professor David MacDougall, Filmmaker and Anthropologist
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