Laos. In a land ravaged by war and exploitation, a boy whose family believe he is cursed must redeem himself by taking part in a dangerous rocket competition.


Kim Mordaunt


Kim Mordaunt
28 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Boonsri Yindee ... Taitok (as Bunsri Yindi)
Alice Keohavong ... Mali
Karen Karen ... Baby Ahlo
Sitthiphon Disamoe Sitthiphon Disamoe ... Ahlo
Chanthachone Latvongxay Chanthachone Latvongxay ... Market Fish Seller
Sumrit Warin Sumrit Warin ... Toma
Samnuan Sankote Samnuan Sankote ... Male Relocation Village Official
Jarunun Phantachat Jarunun Phantachat ... Female Relocation Village Official
Walter Van Veenendaal Walter Van Veenendaal ... Angeo Dam Official
Yuttana Muenwaja Yuttana Muenwaja ... Angry Mob Leader
Chaleam Ratchaborntong Chaleam Ratchaborntong ... Thin Man
Wattana Klumkrong Wattana Klumkrong ... Elderly Woman
Suthep Po-ngam Suthep Po-ngam ... Purple (as Thep Phongam)
Loungnam Kaosainam ... Kia
Sopheng Thammavong Sopheng Thammavong ... Market Flower Seller


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

two word title | See All (1) »




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This movie was banned in Laos. Even though the production crew were closely supervised by Lao government minders and the script was carefully vetted by government censors, certain scenes and dialogue were deemed "too sensitive" for release to the Lao people post production. Some examples are the display of communities being forced from their traditional homes by the flooding of valleys for hydro electric schemes and the comments about the country producing electricity for export whilst an insufficient supply is allowed for domestic consumption. See more »


Yark Hen Fan Kao
Performed by L-Zone
Written by Phonesavanh Ratsamy
See more »

User Reviews

Full of spirit and genuine warmth
1 October 2013 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

There have been some outstanding child performances this year including that of Tye Sheridan, Liam James, Kacey Mottet Klein, and others, but none better than little Sitthiphon Disamoe's in Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket. A hit at the Berlinale, The Rocket also took top prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival including the Best Narrative Feature, Audience Award, and the Best Actor award for Disamoe. An Australian, Laotian, and Thai co-production, the film can be accused of being formulaic, but it is so full of spirit and genuine warmth that it more than earns its audience appeal.

Shot in northern Laos, Mordaunt does not hesitate to remind of us of the legacy of American bombs dropped during the Vietnam War and still visible in the vegetation, nor does he flinch from depicting the reality of poverty and exploitation. In the film, Ahlo (Disamoe) is a ten-year-old full of high energy but burdened with having to prove that he is not the carrier of bad luck. Born in a small hut in a remote Laotian village, Ahlo is a twin whose sibling died during childbirth and whose grandmother Taitok (Bunsri Yindi) proclaimed that he was cursed from the outset. Sadly, distressing events in his young life seemed to give credence to the prophecy.

As their village was being torn down to make room for a dam, Ahlo (now ten-years-old) and his family are relocated to a shantytown that is worse than their former home; the boy's mother Mali (Alice Kaohavong) is involved in a tragic accident, and Ahlo's relationship with his father Toma (Sumrit Warin) becomes distant and strained. Feeling alone, he develops a friendship with Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) a young girl whose family died from malaria, and who lives with her quirky "Uncle Purple," (Thep Phongam), a heavy drinker and ex-soldier who models himself after American singer James Brown.

After taking food from a holy place, Ahlo's attempt to return it causes serious problems for his family and they are forced to go on the road looking for a new home. When they stumble on an annual rocket festival where top prizes lure participants to build and launch the best rocket into the sky to beseech the sky gods to bring rain, Ahlo seizes the opportunity to bury his image as the carrier of bad luck. While The Rocket requires a suspension of disbelief, it is only a small possibility that you will leave the theater unmoved.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »



Australia | Thailand | Laos



Release Date:

29 August 2013 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Rocket See more »

Filming Locations:

Laos See more »


Box Office


AUD2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,621, 12 January 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed