The Island Within

The Island Within

Directed by Ru Hasanov

  • Azerbaijan;

  • CHAMELEON previous work of director Ru Hasanov, available for screening on Festival Scope


Seymour Tahirbekov is an Azerbaijani chess grandmaster, ranked #2 by FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs). Having won the Candidates Tournament Seymour earns the right to challenge the defending world champion Skroten Gudmonson in the World Chess Championship match. A classic neurasthenic Seymour lives a life of athletic discipline: obsessive training sessions supervised by his emotionally toxic father and coach Khanlar, mandatory meetings with opportunistic government officials and (as a treat) exceptionally infrequent visits to his beloved grandfather Anwar's place. With a few weeks left before the World Chess Championship match, Seymour’s psychological and emotional state deteriorates under escalating abuse and pressure to succeed by any means. News of Anwar taken to intensive care is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back and Seymour runs away. Anticipating an international scandal Khanlar turns to the National Security Department for help in finding his son. In the meantime Seymour’s journey (both physical and metaphysical) becomes more and more fragmented. He arrives on an island of Kür Dili that his grandfather had once told him about. On the island, inhabited mostly by feral horses and cows, he encounters its only human resident – a Russian ex-con by the name of Vitaly. Distant and skeptical of each other at first, the two loners gradually warm up to each other forming an unlikely bonding. However time keeps running out: the World Chess Championship match is just around the corner as is the National Security Department…



    Orkhan Tarverdizade