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Critical Acclaim for ‘Ping Pong’ – Watch It Starting Tonight

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Read what critics and journalists have to say about the POV film that will be airing tonight on PBS. It will be streaming for free online, but only from Tuesday, September 10, to Saturday, September 14!

Call this old age, extreme edition: Seven players with 620 years between them compete in the Over 80 World Table Tennis Championships in China’s Inner Mongolia. British players Terry, 81, who has been given a week to live, and Les, 91, a weightlifter and poet, are going for the gold. Inge, 89, from Germany, has used table tennis to paddle her way out of dementia. And Texan Lisa, 85, is playing for the first time. Ping Pong is a wonderfully unusual story of hope, regret, friendship, ambition, love — and sheer human tenacity in the face of aging and mortality.

“Inspiring.”
— New York Daily News

“A charming and even inspirational doc. . . . Ultimately it doesn’t really matter who wins and who loses. You are grateful for the opportunity to have walked for a while in their orthopedic sneakers, and to experience their undiminished zest for life.”
Rob Salem, The Toronto Star

“These dynamic table-tennis stars put the rest of us to shame.”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Remember must-see TV? For older folks, those days are gone as the new fall television season again features a lineup of youth-oriented dramas, adolescent comedies and reality shows. . . . Fortunately,
PBS has . . . alternatives for the Act 2 set: Ping Pong.”
Peter King, Newsday

“Hartford’s film has all the elements of classic sports movies: a major stadium . . . an opening ceremony with a parade of flags, national TV news coverage . . . knockout rounds and mounting tension.”
Gary Drevitch, the Huffington Post

“Early on, director Hugh Hartford and producer Anson Hartford thought they were working on a piece about old age and mortality. But as they followed the ping pong players, they realized the seniors were brimming with life.”
Claudia Feldman, Houston Chronicle

“It is about aging, mortality, friendship, ambition and love. The stories stay with you for hours, weeks, after the credits have rolled.”
— Matthew Syed, The Times, UK

“Who could have imagined there were people over 100 years old with more passion and determination than most people one-fifth their age! The film is baffling, inspiring and sweet, and it’s wonderful to see how ping-pong has transformed their lives.”
— Susan Sarandon, actress, co-founder, SPiN Galactic

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POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Erin O’Neil

    Thank you for showing this film!