6.7/10
723
6 user 20 critic

Pingpong (2006)

After his father's suicide, confused angsty 16 year old Paul goes to stay with his uncle's family. His uncle's wife is also unhappy with her life, so she and Paul have sex and only end up feeling even worse afterwards. Things get ugly.

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Cast

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Marion Mitterhammer ...
Clemens Berg ...
Falk Rockstroh ...
Stefan
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Storyline

Paul, 16 years old, arrives to live at his aunt's house, after his father's death. Alongside her aunt Anna lives his cousin Robert. Paul's arrival is unexpected, creating great tension between the three of them, especially between Anna and Paul. Written by Bulma PunkRocker

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16 November 2006 (Germany)  »

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1.85 : 1
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French subtitles (original version with subtitles) by Titra Film Paris. French text by Marie Marcelot. See more »

Soundtracks

Sonate für Klavier Opus 1
Composed by Alban Berg (1908)
Played on the piano by Clemens Berg
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User Reviews

Garden sociology
21 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

An emotionally disturbed teenager turns up at the home of some repressed relatives. This simple substrate economically combines a surprising number of subtle issues: grief, boredom, alcoholism, stress, lust, and homosexuality, amounting to quite a timebomb in a deceptively domestic situation. It has a dusky, brooding quality - feeling almost like a mild version of Funny Games or Visitor Q.

The boy is dealing with his father's recent suicide and an evident sense of abandonment resulting in various behavioural phenomena that sociologists will have terms for. His cousin's family has its own emotional issues, a neurotic, artistic mother and son, the latter on the booze while practising Berg's piano sonata (providing a sophisticated tone) for an audition; his mother a bored housewife of impulsive passion. Sounds of mastication are used frequently - repulsive, but it lends a surreal, intimate effect.

With so many issues at play though, the meaning is muddled. Frustration, disillusionment, nihilism, betrayal and revenge blur any over-riding theme, which most likely is the new preoccupation of the age: insecurity. Sensitisation of society is on the upcreep. Having set up their lives of suburban serenity, they have too much to lose - everything becomes unbearably precious and the effort of keeping together what was so laboriously acquired causes mild derangement in the most ordinary people. Mild derangement is very much the order of the day here.

It wends its way slowly and interestingly enough, but the somewhat degenerate ending undermines much of what the film was surely trying to achieve along the way. If the boy was merely sociopathic, then much of the useful meaning is eroded. Still, it's worthwhile art-house fair that will stay in the mind on account of its hermetic, drifting, almost dreamlike quality.


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