Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
A lone ping-pong ball floating along a remote Mongolian river sets a trio of young boys on the adventure of a lifetime in director Ning Hao's tale of discovery and adventure in east-central Asia. Little has changed in the landscape of Mongolia since the ancient days of Genghis Kahn, so when Bilike, Erguotou, and Dawa discover a mysterious white ball dancing along the surface of the water, their curiosity quickly gets the best of them. Informed by Bilike's grandmother that the strange sphere is a glowing pearl from heaven, the three youngsters stay up all night waiting for the ball to light up, to no avail. When inquiries to others offer nothing but perplexed looks and wild speculation, Bilike, Erguotou, and Dawa travel to a faraway monastery to seek the wisdom of the wise lamas and unlock the secrets of their odd discovery. That, too, offers more questions and answers as the sheltered lamas admit to never having seen an object of such origins, though, and it isn't until the trio witnesses a ping-pong tournament on a television won by Dawa's father that they finally realize their discovery is the "national ball of China." Now determined to return the ball to its rightful owners, Bilike, Erguotou, and Dawa set out on the road to Beijing without realizing how far the technologically advanced capitol of China truly is from their serine Mongolian paradise.
artifact, ball [sports], capital-city, grasslands, journey, mission [quest], monastery, Mongolia, mystery [enigma], ping-pong, television-show