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Fact or Fiction: The Life and Times of a Ping Pong Hustler is a chronicle of the final three years of Marty Reisman’s life, a former international table tennis champion-turned-money player. Pursuing notoriety motivated by his love of fame and ping-pong, he has to concede that eventually he has to face mortality.
Shot over three years, and directed by Leo Leigh, the film follows Marty – an interesting person overcome by eccentric narcissism, whilst having inherited an innocent charm – as he negotiates between pride, the denial of old age, past defeats and the decline of his fame and fortune, as well as his devoted wife Yoshiko’s health, all while clinging on to the hope that his own life and career have not yet reached their pinnacle.
The film explores Marty Reisman through his own perception of who he is, as well as documenting how he is perceived by the people around him. Marty is a fascinating character to watch, though admittedly, he came across as incredibly narcissistic, thinking a little too highly of himself when I watched it for the first time. Thanks to working on the screening, I had a chance to watch the film a second time and I have to say that I got to focus more on his actual character rather than the his life as a ping pong player. I started to understand his character better, how much he struggles with his loss of fame, regrets, not wanting to admit defeat and his general need for recognition. You can see him revelling in the past, reiterating how successful he was and telling everyone he meets he’s being filmed for a documentary, which would be seen around the globe.
This is validated by his need to be considered a master of ping-pong, showing off his skills and challenging Mike Landers, one of the youngest players to win the national singles championship at 15 in 2009, constantly establishing that he’s a force to be reckoned with, despite his age.
Leo’s got an eye for finding the bizarre within the everyday, shooting Marty getting a new suit and even buying a sandwich from his local shop, which interestingly, helped to translate his character to film. You simply can’t help but laugh throughout. Although Marty is still narcissistic, he’s very quirky and charming, still living through the eyes of his younger self, wanting to have his name remain at the top of the ping-pong league forever.
Due to be released on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, Sony Playstation Vudu, Google Play and YouTube on August 1, the 60 minute film can be pre-ordered at:
UK is 6.99 SD and 7.99 HD
UK pre-order: http://bit.ly/1r9sCon
Ireland is 9.99 SD and 11.99 HD
Ireland pre-order: http://bit.ly/1jFsR9U