I’ve never seen an Andrew Bujalski film before, but I loved his new film Computer Chess, which I’m told is something of a departure for the independent filmmaker. It’s funny, bizarre, and utterly original. It’s the type of film that introduces a type of funny that you didn’t know existed, that isn’t based in popular culture or punchlines or pratfalls or virtually anything that we’ve seen before. The movie has resonances of familiarity (as indicated by the title of this review) but also continuously subverts any potential means of access, constantly remaking itself as it progresses along. Computer Chess moves freely from a mockumentary artifact to a Lynchian, low-fi comedy of oddities, revisiting a range of topics including go-nowhere academia, post-counterculture free love, late Cold War-era politics, and conspiracy theories. It’s an ‘80s period piece, but it never feels nostalgic or hip. It exhibits incredible verisimilitude to its time and subject matter, but at the same time builds its own autonomous world. It’s the weird kind of funny, but it’s never too discomfiting or alienating or quirky or self-aware . Computer Chess feels like a return to the golden era of ‘80s and ‘90s American independent filmmaking – not a place for Hollywood’s refugees, but a place where American films are created as if Hollywood never existed.