Rating: Four stars
It’s beginning to seem as if every day is Senior’s Day at the festival. If the octogenarian bikers in Go Grandriders! weren’t enough to persuade you to pursue something other than playing bridge or Sudoku in your golden years, consider this rousing crowd-pleaser about elderly table tennis players competing in the annual over-80s category of the World Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Hugh Hartford’s affectionate, at times heart-wrenching, documentary is less about ping pong than the value of fulfilling whatever your passion is beyond retirement, as it follows a colourful group of pensioners from around the globe going for the gold. You’ll soon find yourself rooting for characters who overcome various disabilities, such as reigning male champion Terry, an 81-year-old prostate- and kidney-cancer survivor now stricken with lung and bone cancer; Inge, the German competitor who claims ping pong is helping her combat dementia; Les, a passionate, poetry-spouting British seven-time champion who still lifts weights at age 89; Lisa, 85, a feisty, flirtateous and ultra-competitive Texan immigrant; and Dorothy, a legendary 100-year-old Aussie. The antics and spirit of these geriatric gladiators will make you smile and perhaps even get misty-eyed as they follow their dreams in this inspirational, feel-good tribute to tenacity.
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