Film footage in black and white and colour of some of the best table tennis players in the world has been roughly assembled with no apparent attempt to present clear sequences from matches. Instead the film consists of small studies in medium shots of the playing style of various players and of full shots that enable us to enjoy a few artistic duels in full. As the title indicates the focus is on the Chinese players. A matter-of-fact caption relates how they returned to Western tournaments after the Cultural Revolution. In several places their superior skills are accentuated by the use of slow motion, and the subtitle swells to a description of their artistry as "moments in which the score is reduced to an informative frame-work around beauty and imagination." The film turns mute on several occasions, breaking the rhythm created by the sound of table tennis bat, ball and feet, and with director Jørgen Leth's minimalist piano improvisation it lends the film a time-dissolving, dreamlike glow. An experimental attitude to film is clearly revealed when the countdown is suddenly included, and the editing breaks up the already loose sequences still further.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.