Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World To Play | SLJ DVD Review

redstarBounce: How the Ball Taught the World To Play. 71 min. Dist. by Alexander Street. 2015. $295. ISBN unavail. Bounce How the Ball Taught the World To Play DVD

Gr 9 Up --Director Jerome Thelia’s insightful documentary delves into our instinctual drive to play ball and explores how this fundamental need crosses cultures, time, and even species, whether players use a ball made from plastic bags, rags, and twine or the factory-made spheres thrown and kicked on million-dollar playing fields. Human and animal subjects share screen time in locales as varied as Orkney, Scotland, and the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While each narrative offers the audience a fresh perspective, the cumulative effect provides the film with its sense of cohesion. Lending authority to the production are numerous experts in the fields of primatology, sociology, anthropology, and neuroscience. Each finds significance in how ball playing affects our collective lives, particularly as it pertains to brain development and the evolution of communication and socialization skills. An animated retelling of an ancient Scottish myth and sequences of juggler Michael Moschen’s hypnotically beautiful feats of dexterity blend in with David McLain’s lush cinematography. The world music score complements the stunning visuals. VERDICT The prohibitive cost may be too steep for many libraries, limiting the availability of this fascinating and thought-provoking documentary, though it’s highly recommended for library systems where budgets are ample. It will resonate with audiences of all ages.–Audrey Sumser, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2016 issue.

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