Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mongolian Ping Pong

Bonnie brings home some wonderful movies. The latest is Mongolian Ping Pong, a comic look at three young boys in remote Mongolia who find a ping pong ball floating down a stream. Wondering what it is, they ask their parents, a grandmother, and even the local Buddhist monks and get some amusing answers. Even when a wandering merchant, selling odd items from his stripped down van, says that it is just a ping pong ball, they are unenlightened.

There are several things that I really liked about Mongolian Ping Pong. First is the goofiness of the three boys, whose actions make me imaging of Spanky and Our Gang in Mongolian with subtitles. Bilike, Ergoutan, and Dawa run wild with little supervision, cooking up schemes that rival those of old child-star comedies.

I liked the scenery. The vast Mongolian grassland is so green and mostly flat until you see the odd house or rocky outcrop. Anyone who has been to the Serengeti plain will long now to go to remote Mongolia. The background of approaching storms and herds of horses and slow twisting rivers makes me want to see it.

I also liked the camera work, especially how scenes often ended with all of the characters walking out of the frame. The movie watcher is left looking at the beautiful scenery.

There are many themes to contemplate in Mongolian Ping Pong, which seems to show the last days of a rural society being brought into modern society. There are the introduction of technology, the longing of the young to leave, and the care of the elderly. It is a fascinating film that many libraries should had to their collections.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Having just read Michael Palin's travelogue, Himalaya, "Mongolian Ping Pong" sounds really interesting. It also reminds me of an older movie, "The Gods Must be Crazy," in which a Bushman of the Kalihari finds a soda bottle which was dropped from a plane.