A boy who is believed to bring bad luck to everyone around him leads his family and two new friends through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by the legacy of war, to prove he's not bad luck he builds a giant rocket to enter the most exciting and dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.Written by
Red Lamp Films
The film was conceived by an Australian film crew making a 2007 documentary called Bomb Harvest about Australians helping clear unexploded bombs in Laos. This is explained in a 'Making of' documentary included with the DVD of this film. See more »
Neng Sang Ku
Sacred chanting performed by Lahu Shi priests and Wan Kong Pyak
Recorded by Victoria Vorreiter See more »
The Rocket is effective, simple storytelling with many layers and a film that tells more stories than its narrative suggests.
Trekking through the dangerous jungles of Laos, 10-year old Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) is determined to convince his superstitious family that he is not a lightning rod for bad luck.
Blessed with a nutty uncle obsessed with James Brown (Thep Phongam) and caught in the middle of a village relocation program over the building of a dam, Ahlo's eventful journey takes him through the scarred landscape of his home, littered with Vietnam-era bombs that are still waiting to go off.
Australian writer/director Kim Mordaunt was inspired to make this wistful, often lyrical film after his 2007 documentary Bomb Harvest, which told of the annual toll claimed by the unexploded bombs in Laos.
Thankfully he layers the unavoidable political notes with real warmth, humour and character, a quality that clearly benefited from using a mix of professional and non-professional actors. Mordaunt also knows how to use irony without pushing it; as Ahlo aims to prove his worth at a big rocket festival, we're reminded that The Rocket is not a political allegory, it's an offbeat, celebratory coming-of-age story about a kid.
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