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Check Mate for Writers
by: Bernadette Evens
In a recent interview, Shervin Youssefian shared a secret about his writing technique. He leaned forward and confided in the reporter that he records himself playing chess against a great opponent, then he reviews the tape and he adapts the game into a screenplay. "Chess is such a complex and fascinating game of wits where two people try to stay alive no matter what, even if it means sacrificing the people around you," he said in the interview.

Having won countless awards and some acclaim for his short films, including "Color Blind" and "J," Youssefian used this incredibly challenging technique to his latest feature Machiavelli Hangman ( Without the film haven't been released, many are already calling it a masterpiece of words and relationships. "A true testimony of the lengths that a film can go and how powerful an effect it can have on its audience." Machiavelli Hangman's structure is said to have a fluid intermixing of dreams and memory and reality. While this explanation doesn't offer much in terms of a solid description of the material, critics have been left speechless, saying that no words can really explain the experience.

You have a perfect synthesis of story, music and images and the intermixing of the three is done so brilliantly that you resign your left brain and lose yourself in the moment. It's like a rollercoaster ride where you know that you're going up and you know that you'll be coming down soon, perhaps dropping at incredible speeds, but the exhilaration can't anticipate the actual feeling.

Shervin Youssefian ( has shared a great admiration for the films of Quentin Tarantino, particularly Pulp Fiction and although the producers on the project have described the film as a combination of Usual Suspects and Sexy Beast, from an outsider's point of view, I can tell you that it's unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Machiavelli Hangman pulls you in and then it just cuts you loose to do anything you want within the realm of this cinematic world. The experience is very much like a rollercoaster, because it takes you through turns that you see coming but you still feel jolted back by the way it actually feels when it's here.

My prediction is that Machiavelli Hangman will become the biggest film made at the lowest-budget in 2006 and it will receive a mountain of accolades and awards, as it most definitely deserves to.

About the author:
Bernadette Evens is a movie reviewer.
Machiavelli Hangman

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