USA / Canada, 2006 (MIFF 2006, Documentaries)
Director: Greg Hamilton
A chance encounter with an exotic cane ball led Greg Hamilton deep into the culture of Myanmar (Burma) via the unusual ancient sport of Chinlone, the subject of this warm-hearted docu-mentary. A single team activity with no opposing side, Chinlone is a unique blend of ball sport and dance, where the goal is not to win but to play as beautifully as possible.
Mystic Ball follows Hamilton over a period of 20 years as he takes up Chinlone as an awkward beginner, gradually progressing to become the first foreigner to play at the highest levels of the sport. For Hamilton, what begins as a challenging physical activity becomes something more meditative as he comes to appreciate a deeper mysticism behind the hypnotic sport. The determined Hamilton is soon appreciated and welcomed with open arms by locals and top level Chinlone players, which then enables him to offer a unique insider perspective on this fascinating country.
An intriguing look at a novel sport and the nation that follows it, Mystic Ball makes for uplifting and mesmerising viewing.
D Greg Hamilton P Matthew London, Greg Hamilton L English, Burmese w/English subtitles TD video/2006/83mins
Greg Hamilton was born in Manitoba, Canada, in 1953. Mystic Ball is his feature film directing debut.