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The Independent Critic

Saravuth Inn
Alex Lora
11 Mins.

 "Odysseus' Gambit" an Involving Short Film 
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Already proving to be wildly popular on the film festival circuit, Alex Lora's 11-minute documentary Odysseus' Gambit centers around an intriguing Cambodian immigrant who plays chess in the heart of New York City in hopes of building himself a better life.

Odysseus' Gambit is very much a slice of life documentary and it benefits greatly from the life, that of Saravuth Inn, being incredibly interesting and the man himself being so matter-of-fact yet personable. Lora's film has played in multiple film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for Short Filmmaking Award in Non-fiction. The film has also played the Nashville Film Festival, Norwegian Short Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival and quite a few others with prizes picked up at the Tehran Short Film Festival, Cracow Film Festival, Aix-En-Provence International Short Film Festival, and Accolade Competition.

Lora, a Barcelona native with filmmaking experience around the globe, avoids excessively manipulating his subject here and instead allows the delightful Saravuth Inn to tell his own story with honesty and authenticity. Lora's lensing is effective here, though the transition scenes featuring a bright white background didn't have quite the impact one would hope in supporting such a meaningful story.

Odysseus' Gambit continues on its festival run and should have no problem continuing to find a place on the indie fest or doc fest circuit. Lora makes the most of his time here and brings to life a story with multiple facets that you'll be thinking about long after the closing credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic