The Rocket
The Rocket

The Rocket

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Gripping yet heart-warming, The Rocket is a deeply personal story about the determination of a boy who has the odds stacked against him, set against the epic backdrop of a war-ravaged country on the brink of huge change.

Laos: A boy (Ahlo, 10), 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 a fetish for 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 a deeply personal story about the determination of a boy who has the odds stacked against him, set against the epic backdrop of a war-ravaged country on the brink of huge change.

The Rocket is one of the first feature films for international release set and shot in the enigmatic and little-known country of Laos, rarely seen by the outside world since the end of the Vietnam War. With remarkable access to real tribal and Buddhist 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.

Cultural Significance

Laos experienced a nine-year war between local Communist and Royalist forces, with the US covertly supporting the Royalists, resulting in Laos becoming the most bombed country, per capita, in history. Now, one of the poorest countries in Asia, emerging from decades of isolation, multinational corporations are flooding in to take hold of Laos’ rich resources – hydro-electricity, gold, copper, gems – and moving people from their homes to do so. This is a microcosm of most of the “developing” world where it is now estimated sixty million traditional people have been relocated from dams alone.

Mostly Buddhist and animist, much of the population of Laos still live a very traditional village existence, with myth and superstition a strong part of daily life. And, like anywhere, when people start to lose everything, they often cling to their traditional beliefs and superstitions more than ever.

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