Ahlo (10) is a boy who is believed to bring bad luck, is blamed for a string of disasters. When his family loses their home and are forced to move, Ahlo meets the spirited orphan Kia (9) and her eccentric uncle Purple: an ex-soldier with a purple suit, a rice-wine habit and an obsession with James Brown.
Struggling to hang on to his father’s trust, Ahlo leads his family, Purple and Kia through a land scarred by war in search of a new home.
In a last plea to prove he’s not cursed, Ahlo builds a giant explosive rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival. As the most bombed country in the world shoots back at the sky, a boy will reach to the heavens for forgiveness.
Gripping yet heart-warming, The Rocket is one of the first feature films for international release set and shot in the intriguing and little-known country of Laos, rarely seen by the outside world since the end of the Vietnam War.
With remarkable access to real rituals and festivities in the stunning mountains of Laos, the film is a unique view into a world never seen on film before.
Featuring an extraordinary leading performance from gutsy former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe as Ahlo, the film also stars veteran actor and comedian Thep Phongam as a damaged but humorous ex-soldier who becomes a mentor to our young protagonist.
Written and directed by Kim Mordaunt, The Rocket is his debut feature. A graduate of the film production degree at UTS (University of Technology Sydney), his extensive documentary verite work, as both director and cinematographer, has honed his ability to paint fiction with truth and to shoot it in a way that feels very immediate and intimate.
Kim’s experience as an actor has contributed to his extraordinary rapport with, and ability to communicate with, actors. His feature-length documentary Bomb Harvest was highly acclaimed by film critics and screened at over 20 international festivals, shown on TV in over 25 countries and at major global human rights events.
The Rocket was the recent winner of the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) People’s Choice Award, the Sydney Film Festival Audience Award and the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award: Narrative.
The Rocket will be released nationally on Thursday 29 August. For more information, visit: www.therocket-movie.com for details.
Image: production still from The Rocket