Ping Pong (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)

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You'd be bats to miss it!
BJBatimdb7 October 2012
Before I gush, let me say - hand on heart - that I have NO connection with this film or its makers. I just went along to see it because documentaries nowadays are increasingly more interesting than 'real' films.

Ping Pong is no exception to that rule. It's the antidote to the X Factor - the story of eight pensioners from around the world competing in the World Ping Pong Championships in China. Each competitor is interviewed at home about their lives and participation in the sport, and we watch them prepare (or not!) before setting off.

Their stories are funny, admirable, affecting and astonishing; their characters diverse as the nations they represent. My own favourite was Inge, the German woman who was saved from what sounds like dementia by ping pong. I found myself laughing and filling up in turn as these feisty old folk set off for the contest with a range of ambitions and emotional baggage.

The entire film is uplifting and gently gripping, sucking you in to the lives and backgrounds of these people. It would be the perfect film to show schoolchildren, as it reveals old age in all its wonderful, terrible incarnations.

If only most screenwriters could capture one tenth of the emotional impact of Ping Pong, the film industry would be something to behold.
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A motivational must-see
laurawalcot19 July 2012
Heart warming and a beautiful insight to how these players see their health and their mortality. No matter what is thrown at them and by all means, its more than most, they just get up and carry on. Some strong inspirational characters to inspire all generations. Had me in tears as well as laughter. I went to the preview in London and the Q&A after with Terry Donlon was powerful to say the least. If these guys can do what they do at their age and health, anyone can. They prove that the power of the mind and a strong will can overcome mountains. Makes you feel like you want to get up and go and do something productive, no matter how old or young you are. Simply brilliant!
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Get busy living
ferguson-613 September 2013
Greetings again from the darkness. Missing a lung? No excuse. Had a kidney removed? Please. Suffer a few strokes? Let's play. Struggling with Dementia? Grab a paddle. Rarely has the human spirit provided a better platform than in director Hugh Hartford's documentary about super seniors (age 80+) and their pursuit of a World Championship in Table Tennis/Ping Pong.

We get to know a group of these players through interviews and a glimpse into their personal life. The core group in the film ranges from age 81 to 89 and are in various stages of health ... from pretty spry (one of the ladies has a boy toy 20 years younger) to hospital-bound given only a week to live (the interview took place 5 months after that diagnosis). One thing I noticed in each of these experienced folks ... put a paddle/bat in their hand and you can see the twinkle in their eyes and a bounce in their step! There are multiple World Championships represented here. There are arch rivals. Their are long time friends. We even meet a legendary Australian player ... she competes at 100 years old! The rookie from Houston describes her own playing "as irregular as my driving". One of the men spouts off poetry and Irish limericks before dismantling an opponent on the table.

This is a pleasure to watch. Should you question the motivation of these elderly folks, take in this quote: "I'll keep playing. I don't want to sit down. I don't want to die."
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A wonderfully fascinating documentary.
AloysiusTurner16 October 2012
Ping Pong, a documentary, follows the fortunes of eight elderly amateur table tennis players from around the globe as they compete in the Over-80s Table Tennis Championships, held in Inner Mongolia.

To some, the Inspire a Generation tagline for the London 2012 Olympics may be perceived as too one-dimensional, focusing narrowly on the pubescent bracket, whilst other, more refined age groups are left without the sporting encouragement and concern they deserve. Ping Pong firmly puts our OAPs back in the frame, proving that there is life to be found in the old dogs, yet. The timely message of this piece transcends our Olympiad's stale beacon of motivation, by attesting that the spectre of mortality in old age is no barrier to participating in a good old fashioned game of table tennis, or any sport or activity for that matter.

As with many good documentaries, Ping Pong's subject matter becomes interesting and engrossing with the rolling of the film, whilst dually being ostensibly arid before viewing. Another potential problem the film manages to negate is the threat of a patronising tone towards the table tennis playing pensioners; however, our competitors are so engaging, charming and entertaining, that this is never a distraction, making Ping Pong a wonderfully fascinating documentary.
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This is a genuinely uplifting documentary ,engaging,heart-warming without being sentimental about old age
gay-search221 August 2012
Who knew that there was such a thing as the Over 80s world table tennis championships? That alone is intriguing enough to draw you into this remarkable documentary . The film makers have chosen some extraordinary characters to follow through the tournament , engaging , likable -for the most part- entertaining and a wonderful endorsement for the benefits, physical, emotional and mental of playing this game. It is honest too, unsentimental and doesn't shy away from the downsides of old age . You learn the central characters' back stories, follow them through the tournament, see, as you do in any sport contested at the highest level, ruthlessness, gamesmanship ,if not downright skulduggery , and witness the players meeting triumph and disaster -or at least losing . You root for your heroes, boo silently at the villain and come away determined to start playing yourself .
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Uplifting, unmissable, offbeat Brit-Doc
tipps5618 August 2012
Just been to see this at a packed special screening where the directors were present for a Q&A. A touching and humorously compelling glimpse into the world of octogenarian table tennis. Brilliantly edited, combining just the right amount of back story of 8 protagonists from around the world including two lovely old gents from the UK, together with footage from the World Championships which were held in China in 2010. Believe you me, the emotions aroused were similar to watching Team GB live at the London Olympics. Nearly forgot to mention that it also has a great soundtrack.

This film will sadly only get limited screening in cinemas but I believe it will be shown on Channel 4 later this year. Miss it at your peril - it's outstanding and is one of my favourite films of 2012 so far.
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Everyone should see this, whatever age you are
ogdendc5 January 2014
The documentary starts with 89 year old Les Darcy talking about his former teammate and world table tennis champion 81 year old Terry Donlan on a radio programme. Terry is ill with prostate cancer. Les quotes:

If with pleasure you are viewing any work a man is doing, If you like him or you love him, tell him now; Don't withhold your approbation till the parson makes oration And he lies with snowy lilies on his brow; No matter how you shout it he won't really care about it; He won't know how many teardrops you have shed; If you think some praise is due him now's the time to slip it to him, For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead

The film then moves back to six months earlier. Terry is still reasonably well, his cancer controlled. In Sweden we see Rune Forsberg, Swedish champion. Then USA - Houston – Lisa and Jim Modlich. To Germany - Ursula Bihl, and Inge Hermann, both 89 years old. Mongolia – Sun Yon Qing. Australia – Dorothy deLow. They are all travelling to China for the 2010 World Senior (over 85) Table Tennis Championships.

Anson and Hugh Hartford have produced a little gem of a documentary. We share in the life stories of these sporting heroes, observe their struggle against a variety of opponents and marvel at the indefatigable human spirit. The music and filming never get in the way of the subjects who are somehow more majestic, the more humble they act. Everyone should see this, whatever age you are.
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Ping Pong, an optimistic adventure.
annuskavdpol26 August 2014
Ping Pong is a movie that is intended for a senior audience. It is about being able to take oneself out of the rut of every day life, and have fun, especially when one is eighty years old. This film started out in a very documentary style, but soon transformed into something magical. Maybe it was the transition, when the scene of the airplane soaring into the skies took place, or maybe it was the organized chaos in China that changed the mundane mood of the near-to-death experience. Whatever it was, there was an element of excitement in this movie, which contributed to the individuals personal drives and ambitions, and this lifted the spirits of the players and the viewers of the film in the audience, hence kudos to the director of the film for being able to capture the love-for-life, and for putting it together for all to witness and enjoy.
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