Join us for the world premiere screening of Aces & Knaves — a new documentary about the fascinating game of bridge, directed by New York filmmaker, Jackie Paré. With footage from local clubs, international tournaments, and old Hollywood movies, the film takes viewers behind the scenes of the game and into the minds of the people playing it.
“If I sat with you for ten minutes at a bridge table, I could see how you think—whether you’re brave, you’re strong, you’re fearless; whether you’re honest, whether you’re charming. It reveals everything.” — Zia Mahmood, bridge legend
About the Film
Aces & Knaves zooms in on the players, the scandals, and the intense competition inside the world of bridge — the most complex mind sport ever invented. Aspiring ace Bill Gates is in the film, as are the best players on the planet, sharing tales of exhilaration and defeat. The film follows the emotional story of the whistleblowers and code breakers who worked thousands of hours to expose two pairs of world-class cheaters, one from Israel and another from Italy. “Collusive cheating in bridge is our murder,” says bridge champion Steve Weinstein. “For our game, it’s as bad as it gets.”
A polite pastime for retirees? No way! Bridge is a high-stakes whirl of brain against brain, in which top players train as fiercely as Olympic athletes. Inventors, musicians, lawyers, scientists, Wall St. superstars, and young students are among the millions around the world who are obsessed. Peering into the minds and hearts of elite players—the nail biting, the self flagellation, the grueling preparation, and the sheer joy of victory—neurologists and psychologists see bridge as a microcosm of life. University of Pennsylvania's Dr. Martin Seligman, who studies the brains and thinking of geniuses, says: “For two centuries scientists have been asked, what’s unique about human beings? What's unique is that human beings are prospectors of the future, and bridge is a perfect game for prospection.”
Emotions boil beneath the surface at bridge tournaments: Think Wimbledon rather than Madison Square Garden. “My head starts spinning and I feel my heart start beating and I get this tickle on the back of my thighs,” says European bridge champion Christina Lund Madsen. With egos on the line, players careen from self-loathing to jubilation and back again. “One minute you feel like a genius,” says 5-time world champion Gail Greenberg, “and the next you wonder if you should take up finger painting instead.” Given the emotional toll that’s built into the game, it’s no surprise that bridge and cheating have a long, intertwined history.
Aces & Knaves mixes vintage stills and old movie footage with dramatic coverage of international tournaments. An original score by Bessie winner and STOMP veteran Nicholas Van Young and striking animation and graphics by Lucien Harriot add to the look, the sound, and the beautiful imagery woven throughout the film. Aces & Knaves is aimed not only at bridge enthusiasts but also those who have never picked up a hand. Why? Because bridge holds a mirror to the human spirit — at its best and at its worst. And like life, it's all about the cards you're dealt. You have to make the best of them.