Sam Wong, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in London's Chinatown, dies in a phone booth. As a favor to her uncle, a young law student, Elaine Choy, agrees to probate Sam's will, but finds that the task is less than trivial. Sam's wife, daughter, son-in-law, cook, and two sons disagree on who should have which parts of the business. And two other beneficiaries remain frustratingly elusive. But in the search, Elaine and Sam's younger son, Mike, a restaurant owner himself, realize that they're not only exploring Sam Wong's life, but also their own cultural identities as both English and Chinese. —Kathy Li
East End girl meets her Eastern roots. What is she Chinese, English, British? By facing the rigors of a Chinese Will she is forced to face her own true identity.
Ping Pong was - is a first for British Budget Movies. It deals with a section of British Society so long 'ignored' stereotyped and often ridiculed. The Chinese still today in the London of 2000 talked about as 'a closed community'. But have we ever tried to go half way to "opening" that community? Ping Pong deals with a thorny issue of Identity perceived not only from the Euro-Centric stand point but also from the Asiatic view point. Where does Elaine Choi stand -what is she? Until she is caught up in Sam Wongs wishes Elaine has never really thought about her idenity in this world. Sam Wong and his family change all this. Elaine finds prejudice on both sides from the place that she calls home -London and from the place that she's being told she should regard as her home - China and the Chinese.This film was a first dealing with the issue of bi-cultural identity. In 2000 it's central theme is even more relevant than it was when Ping Pong was first given a limited cinema release. Sadly this film did not spark of more interest in this section of British society neither have some deeply ingrained institutional preconceptions changed. It is a sad fact that the Chinese community is still one area of ethnicity where dodgy stand-up comics feel they can still gain cheap laughs. Three cheers to Palace Pictures -Malcolm Craddock and Michael Guest for having the guts at least to try something different.We need more Films like Ping Pong, better ones to carry on what was a truly remarkable and brave artistic decision. Po Chih Leong I think showed that in the right hands Britain does have some half decent British-Chinese Actors. Finally I think this film is a fitting tribute to actor Robert Lee who sadly died not long after the completion of post production on this film. Robert Lee's performance in this film I think is truly wonderful.
- Dec 5, 2000
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