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An ordinary white pingpong ball floats down a creek and is found by Bilgee, a Mongolian boy. Bilgee's grandmother tells him it is a glowing pearl from heaven. Believing this, Bilgee spends the whole night out on the grassland with his two best friends: Ergotor, who cannot ride a horse but can ride a motorbike, and Dawaa, who is very small but never gives up. But they do not witness the expected glow; instead, they are all beaten by their parents when they return home. During the annual Nadam festival, the children mistake Bilgee's "glowing pearl" for the golf ball they see on a film screen, and the film projectionist tells Bilgee it is not a treasure but a pingpong ball. After being mocked by some children, Bilgee throws the ball into a rat hole. Some time later, Bilgee and the other two boys gather at Dawaa's home to try out a new television. Though they set up a tall antenna, they can only get sound and no picture. A table tennis match is on TV: accompanied by the sound of pingpong balls being hit, the sports commentator says that the pingpong ball is China's national ball. The three boys are excited. They retrieve the ball from the rat hole and decide to return the "national ball" to the nation: Beijing ...

Though Ning Hao's "Lü cao di" takes place at the edge of Inner Mongolia, it's not the film most viewers might expect: children playing in the Mongolian steppes find an odd object they can't identify, but which inspires their imaginations. From this starting-point comes a colorful and amusing film, full of clever visual and dramaturgical ideas that give the story unexpected twists.

Production: Beijing Kunlun Xiongdi Prod.

Editor: Ning Hao, Jiang Yong

Screenplay: Gao Jianguo, Xing Aina, Ning Hao

Cinematographer: Du Jie

Composer: Lu Jiajia

Cast: Hurzbileg, Dawaa, Geliban and others

Format/screen ratio: 35mm, 1:1.85, Color

Running time: 102 min., 25 frames/sec.

Language: Mongolian

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur