The first film I’ve seen set in Laos is The Rocket. When the hero Ahlo is born, his twin dies causing his grandmother to believe that Ahlo is cursed. Grandma holds this belief for years.
When Ahlo is about 7 or 8, his family must leave their village where a new dam is getting built. As they journey to their new town, they meet with tragedy and Ahlo is blamed. The blame continues once they arrive at the site of their new home, where they discover all promises about the modern new town appear to be broken.
The one break Ahlo gets is meeting another outsider, Uncle Purple and his niece. Uncle Purple gets his nickname for the purple suit he always wears. Uncle Purple’s suit is a tip of the hat to his hero, James Brown. Kia, the uncle’s niece, is cold to Ahlo at first, but eventually befriends him as Ahlo tries to save his family by competing in a contest for the Rocket Festival.
The actor playing Ahlo was a street kid and he’s charismatic and authentic. I hope his career continues. The film was made my an Australian company that felt that countries without a solid film industry deserve to have their stories told.
The film captivated me with its story and acting. At times it’s intense and not for children, but I highly recommend you check it out.