Ping-Pong – Hugh Hartford, UK

Ping Pong is an applause inducing, laugh filled boisterously rowdy film entrenched in joy and sportsmanship.

It follows a group of seniors from all over the world who are coming to China to compete in the world championships.

Ranging in age from 80 to 100, these players are still going strong.

The film delves into each of the lives of the players, sharing tales of cancer, loss, championships won, games lost, always keeping things involving and entertaining.

The matches themselves elicited gasps and applause from the audience.

The film is wonderfully balanced, at no point more than when the Vienna-born American vanquishes her opponent and says how easy it was, glibly and gleefully.

I experienced a moment of hate for her, but immediately the director cuts to her telling the story of her youth in Vienna and working with the French Resistance in WWII. It completely changes your view of her.

The main lead, Les D’Arcy is an English player, a man who’s still finding time to work out and exercise. He is dedicated, well-spoken and a proper English Bloke a true sportsman, supporting his fellow English player Terry, and cheering him on, even as Terry struggles with worsening medical conditions.

We spend time with all of them, a tiny Japanese woman with graceful returns, the Belgian who sees Les as his main competition, and some of their entertaining travel companions. We see them play against each other, and with each other, and the games are fast and furious, and in this game, it brings out the best in almost all of them.

Ping-pong is a great example of a film that shows life doesn’t stop when you’re 80, it doesn’t stop until you die. Get out there and play!!

Ping-Pong is presented again at the Bader on Wednesday, May 2 at 1:30pm and at the Bloor Cinema Sunday, May 6 at 1:15pm.

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