Director: Kim Mordaunt. Starring: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam. Australia/Thailand/Laos 2013. 96 mins. Lao with English subtitles.
Longlisted for this year’s Best Foreign-Language Oscar, this charming drama centres on Ahlo (Disamoe), a hapless boy from Laos who is believed in his community to be the bringer of bad luck.
After a hydroelectric project leaves their village uninhabitable, he and his family set out on a calamity-prone journey in search of a new home.
Determined to prove he is not the source of all disaster, Ahlo decides to compete in a dangerous competition to build a giant rocket. Shot through with vibrant local colour, and with a flair for highlighting mischief and fun against even the most traumatic of backdrops, THE ROCKET is a feel-good world cinema treat, recalling the likes of WHALE RIDER (2002) and last year’s WADJDA in its celebration of childish tenacity and pluck.