The Dark Horse

Monday 1 December 2014
By Peter W Sheehan, Kairos Catholic Journal
THIS wonderful New Zealand film tells the story of a chess champion who uses his talents to rescue youths at risk from the disaster of realising the worst of their potential.

The story is inspired by the life of Genesis Potini—the ‘dark horse’ of the film’s title—played brilliantly in the movie by Cliff Curtis. Genesis was a Maori chess savant who suffered from bipolar disorder and was hospitalised with it frequently. From time to time, Genesis succumbed to his mental illness, but his high-speed style of chess playing and his intricate knowledge of the game were sources of amazement to those who knew him.

Genesis died in 2011. He was not especially well known at the time, but he had a charismatic influence on all who came into contact with him. He always placed his own mental illness behind the goal of helping others.

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