Out of the Central North Island of New Zealand rises a trio of volcanic mountains — Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro — so sacred in the formation narrative of the Māori people that the firstcomers to the island averted their gazes from the flanks of the snow-covered peaks out of deference.
The mountains lie within Tongariro National Park, the fourth national park ever established in the world and one that was created explicitly to protect the sacred beauty of the volcanic peaks. Today, they are the site of popular ski resorts with lifts carrying hundreds of eager skiers to the snow.
Salomon skiers Josh Daiek, Chris Rubens and Mike Douglas wanted to be counted among those making turns on the still-active volcanoes. But these mountains don’t relinquish their spoils easily.
Freedom, exploration and the universal bond forged by the game of football (that’s soccer to you Americans). Bounce — This is Not a Freestyle Movie is a playful short film that takes viewers on a trip around the world — to beaches, ski slopes, museums, deserts, bustling cities, rug markets, music festivals and deserted alleys — with one man and his soccer ball.
“More people watched the last soccer World Cup than have ever belonged to any religion,” observes author Tom Chatfield, one of a dozen or so scholars who appear in Bounce to consider the meanings of perhaps the most ancient man-made artifact that remains ubiquitous in the 21st century.
Director Jerome Thélia elicits startling insights as he asks anthropologists, psychiatrists, historians, evolutionary biologists, sports commentators and even a juggler what it is that gives the ball its universal appeal.
Bounce ranges widely — across academic disciplines, from diverse human cultures to animal specie and from prehistory to the modern era — to demonstrate how balls inspire play and how play is a cornerstone of intelligent life. This film shimmers with technical brilliance equal to its curiosity and intellectual breadth.