Mongolian Pingpong

A nine-year-old boy living on the Mongolian steppes finds a Ping-Pong ball floating down a stream. After concluding that it isn’t an egg, he carries around the glowing pearl as a talisman, learns that it’s China’s national ball, and winds up fighting over it with a friend. This sounds like a slender premise on which to hang a feature, but director Ning Hao is more interested in ethnography and landscapes than narrative and often holds our interest by concentrating on how folklore, technologymotorbikes, cars, trucks, films, TVand imagination affect a nomadic way of life. In Mongolian with subtitles. 102 min. (JR)

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