Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mongolian Ping Pong

Posted on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Mongolian Ping Pong
Studio: First Run Features
WorkNameSort: Mongolian Ping Pong
In the tradition of great child-centric films like The White Balloon and Where Is the Friend's Home?, Mongolian Ping Pong is an austere and deceptively simple story about a table-tennis ball that changes the lives and tests the friendship of three kids in the stark and technologically barren steppes of Mongolia. Globalization encroaches in the form of American-made electric razors and glossy Western magazines, but most advancements have yet to reach the unfettered landscape, which is stunningly photographed in one painterly composition after another. A boy finds the ping-pong ball in a stream and questions his friends and family as to what it is. An egg? A magic pearl? The ball is much ado about everything for the boys, making Mongolian Ping Pong a reflection on primitive living and the value of objects. The plot is almost irrelevant and certainly secondary; however, there's enough to recommend in this film just in the evocative wide shots and astonishing deep-focus cinematography. Unfortunately, the First Run transfer is subpar, and the sound is not always properly synced.


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