The life of adolescents: a classic basis for a début film and Jens Jonsson, who has already come to fame with his short films, proves with The King of Ping Pong that he can look at it from a very original perspective. The maker himself comes from the fairly northern town of Umeå, but you can go even further north. There, in the wintry north of Sweden, where the light is low and pale, The King of Ping Pong is set. The protagonist is Rille, a large, fat adolescent aged about sixteen who is not yet ready for the world of adults. The only place where he feels good is at the local table-tennis centre, where he rules over his younger subjects. Outside he is bullied and at home he continuously quarrels with his younger brother Erik who is different to him in every respect. So it's no surprise that at a certain point he starts thinking that his father - a flamboyant professional diver with an alcohol problem - is not his real father.
This portrait of a boy whose consciousness about uneasy and unpleasant things slowly comes to the surface is recognisable, moving and funny. While the music is almost exuberantly classical, evoking a special combination of emotion and light irony, the beautiful camerawork is remotely reminiscent of Roy Andersson: the characters stand pale and wide in the white landscape. (GT)