(1983)

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Storyline

A classical documentary about pelota, the Basque ball game. The film consists of several elegantly interlaced layers, with the manufacture of a pelota ball as the narrative framework. We are introduced to the sport today, concentrating on the current master, Retegui II, on a father teaching his young son, and on a game with the bookmakers' eager involvement on the side lines. The component of the film typical of Leth's attitude to the sport is obviously the story of the mysterious player Atano III, in the visuals an old man, on the soundtrack renowned for "his electric speed and feline suppleness". Finally, the Basque struggle simmers beneath the surface by way of a series of stills of bullet-riddled road signs and painted-over place names. The basic mood of the film is melancholy, not only due to the narrator's emphasis on former pelota feats but also thanks to the rainy weather, grey and green hues of the visuals and the musical theme by Ennio Morricone on the soundtrack.

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