It’s not often that my passion for film collides with my work, and lucky for me this month it has. I’ve been working with U-Dox on the launch of a new documentary directed by Leo Leigh (son of Mike Leigh) – Fact or Fiction: The Life and Times of a Ping Pong Hustler. Don’t be fooled by the title, it is not about a ping pong hustler, it is about an eccentric character who happens to be a ping pong legend and hustler. The film is directed by Leo Leigh, the son of Mike Leigh who directed one of my favourite films Abigail’s Party.
The film is about Marty Reisman, who won the US championship twice and then went back and won again when he was the ripe old age of 67. In the 70s he was a true legend. He made ping pong cool, his was known for his extravagant fashion and his ‘beautiful stroke’ to quote the man himself. But at aged 80, he could walk down the street and no one knew who he was. If he went to Spin he was a legend, but day-to-day his is lost in the crowd. During the three years the crew followed him you can see this is a man that wants to hold on to the legend he was, as he is getting closer to death he wants to continue the memory, the man that he was. Having a documentary made about him seems to give him some hope, some evidence to show to those around him that he is still of importance in this world.
I found this film really gripping, the guy is funny. Although I felt like I was laughing at him at times, I think he was making us laugh. There is also a touching moment too, when he talks about his beloved wife.
I would have loved to have met Marty, and it’s a shame he sadly passed away before the film was released, I think he would have been proud to see his story being told.
Fact or Fiction: The Life and Times of a Ping Pong Hustler is out now on iTunes. Check out the trailer below.
Fact or Fiction : The Life and Times of a Ping Pong Hustler [TRAILER] from UMI on Vimeo.
He was still hustling till his last breath. A man that could have been an incredible sportsman, chose a different path into the sporting limelight.