In the documentary film Mystic Ball, a chance encounter with an exotic ball leads a Canadian man on a journey deep into the little known culture of Myanmar, and its traditional sport, Chinlone.
Chinlone is a unique combination of sport and dance, a team sport with no opposing team. Over 1,500 years old, it is unknown to the world outside of Myanmar. In essence Chinlone is non-competitive, yet it’s as demanding as the most competitive ball games. The focus is not on winning or losing, but how beautifully you play the game.
For Greg Hamilton of Toronto, what begins as a physical exercise soon becomes a meditation and a dance with gravity. Mystic Ball follows Greg on his visits to Myanmar over a period of 20 years, as he evolves from an awkward beginner to a teammate capable of "soloing" with the greatest chinlone players in the country. En route, he juggles feelings of bliss and self-discovery with occasional bouts of self-doubt and inadequacy.
During numerous trips to Myanmar and the city of Mandalay, Greg is embraced by a community that shares his passion. He is now known as "Mr. Greg" to millions of Burmese who watched on TV as he became the only foreigner to ever play in one of the huge Buddhist festivals that celebrate Chinlone. And in time, he comes to learn about its mystical nature.
We see the development of his friendship with the "Golden Princess" Su Su Hlaing, the greatest Chinlone solo artist in the country. We see Greg blossom under the tutelage of Ko Maung Maung, a veteran top player whose son, Aung Soe Moe is considered the finest chinlone player alive. And we learn what Chinlone means to a couple of elders who have been playing the game everyday for the last 70 years. The climax of Mystic Ball sees Greg get his chance to play with Ko Maung Maung on the best team in the country, the Dream Lovers.
Eight years in the making, Mystic Ball will introduce you to more than just a mesmerizing sport. It will also engage you in a beautiful story about the happiness and fulfillment that comes from following one’s passion.