A boy believed to bring bad luck to those around him enters a dangerous competition to prove he’s not cursed in “The Rocket”, a free screening presented by Utah Film Circuit: Moab, an initiative of the Grand County Public Library and the Utah Film Center.
“The Rocket” depicts Ahlo, a 10-year-boy whose family loses its home and is forced to move after Ahlo is blamed for a string of disasters. Ahlo meets a spirited orphan named Kia, and her eccentric uncle Purple, and leads his family and new friends through a war-torn land in search of a new home.
In a last plea to try and 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.
“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,” according to the film’s website.
According to the website, “The Rocket” is one of the first feature films for international release set and shot in 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 Rocket’ is a unique view into a world never seen on film before,” according to the website.
The film was written and directed by Kim Mordaunt, and features “an extraordinary leading performance from gutsy former street kid Sitthiphon Disamoe as Ahlo, and veteran actor and comedian Thep Phongam as the damaged but humorous Purple.”
The film won awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor in a Narrative Feature (Disamoe) and an audience award at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. It also boasts a 98-percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“To a Western audience, ‘The Rocket’ takes us outside of our comfort-zone in a way unimaginable, unintelligible, and into a world of Laotian tradition,” Utah Film Center community outreach coordinator Sallie Hodges said. “The protagonist… determined to shake off the bad luck imposed on him by birth, builds himself a rocket from bat droppings and enters a competition in honor of the Sky Gods of Rain.”
Grand County Public Library assistant Jessie Magleby said “The Rocket” is an “exceptional foreign film.”
“While it deals with realities like the powerlessness of poverty and the devastating aftermath of war, ‘The Rocket’ handles these themes gently and there is much beauty, humor and adventure entwined,” she said. “It is beautifully filmed, colorful and lush, a triumph-over-adversity story that will leave viewers cheering.
“The Rocket” will be presented in Lao with English subtitles on Thursday, July 17 at 7 p.m., at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.
Movie depicts Laotian boy on mission to save his family and prove he’s not cursed
“With remarkable access to real rituals and festivities in the stunning mountains of Laos, ‘The Rocket’ is a unique view into a world never seen on film before.”
What: Utah Film Circuit: Moab free screening of “The Rocket”
When: Thursday, July 17, 7 p.m.
Where: Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.