SXSW Film Review: Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play

Balls make the world go ’round

What is it about those ubiquitous spheres that have captivated members of the animal kingdom since time immemorial? Everywhere on the big blue marble we call Earth, balls seem to make the world go ’round.

Jerome Thélia’s Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play delves into the questions surrounding why balls and the play activities they inspire are such universal elements of creatures’ social structures. Not surprisingly, a host of experts are called upon to help explain the notions put forth in John Fox’s book The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game. (Who knew there were so many scientists at work figuring out the origins and parameters of play?) The theoretical explorations are fascinating, although ultimately the film may be nothing more than a highfalutin’ way of explaining why cultures treat their favorite sports like religions.

The documentary is at its best during its more observational moments: a man in the Congo bundling plastic shopping bags and tying them tightly in a ball for the children to kick or nature footage of bonobo chimps, dolphins, and other animals delighting in bouncing or pursuing a ball. These moments are the film’s best arguments concerning our abiding fascination with balls.


Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play

Documentary Spotlight
Saturday, March 21, 2pm, Topfer


Keep up with all our SXSW Film coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw/film.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Q&A With Comedian Tig Notaro
Q&A With Tig Notaro
Showtime documentary airs Friday

Andy Campbell, April 15, 2015

SXSW Film 2015 Rundown
SXSW Film Coverage
Reviews, interviews, photo galleries, and more

March 22, 2015

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
The Way I See It
Portrait of presidential photographer Pete Souza has depth but lacks focus

Sept. 18, 2020

Our Time Machine
Stunning documentary about puppetry, art, Alzhiemer's, and a son's love

Sept. 11, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW, Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play, SXSW Film 2015, Jerome Thélia

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle