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The Rocket


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Product Details

  • Actors: Sitthiphon Disamoe
  • Directors: Kim Mordaunt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Thai
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00IACUOCO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A boy who is believed to bring bad luck leads his family (and a couple of ragged misfits) through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by war, the boy builds a giant rocket to prove he's not cursed and to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: a rocket festival.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
80%
4 star
16%
3 star
4%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 25 customer reviews
Overall, a beautiful and important film.
Libby C
It's an unfair world but as many young boys do Ahlo tries his best to help his family and neighbors.
Douglas
I enjoy very much the story especially about the UXO.
Vilay Soulatha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Libby C on May 11, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I lived in Laos for a year and had the good fortune to travel to many parts of the country. This movie captures the incredible beauty, poverty, and simplicity of life in rural Laos. I suspect (but can't verify) it accurately represents the poor handling of relocation of minority tribal members for big government projects. Where it fails, I suspect, is that it doesn't capture the open, loving, sharing spirit of the Lao people that I experience. But then, I was a foreign traveler, not a poor minority citizen. Also clearly addresses problems left over from America's "Secret War" in Laos. Overall, a beautiful and important film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EMILIE KIRK on April 26, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This movie was excellent! It had a richly layered story line with compelling and very real characters, and also managed to bring in different aspects of Lao life today (like environmental issues, land concessions and displacement, the legacy of the war, etc.) in a natural but shocking way, as you would encounter them on the ground there. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas on April 23, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
“The Rocket” is a wonderful movie about a boy struggling against the world. Young Ahlo has a hard enough time growing up in rural Laos. This beautifully filmed movie looks like a travelogue but the world that they live in is deadly and that adds to the tragedy He has to deal with poverty, modernization, and a landscape littered with unexploded ordinances (UXOs) – and then a catastrophe strikes.

This is the second time that director Kim Mordant addressed the issue of UXOs left by armed forces after a war they leave the first time he used a documentary format but this time he uses drama.

His grandmother believes that Ahlo was born under a bad sign. It's an unfair world but as many young boys do Ahlo tries his best to help his family and neighbors. But those attempts fail.

He tries to gets by with a little help from his friend Kia who is bearing her own cross and The Godfather of Soul’s greatest Laotian fan. Everyone has endured some horrible tragedy but they continue to persevere. Even with all the strikes against them Ahlo and Kia develop a genuine friendship and show great warmth that emanates from the screen in spite of the difference in language.

Ahlo sees the last chance to help his family find a home and escape the stigma that he is shackled with by entering a rocket building contest hence the title, but it’s a guarantee that he’ll do well. The subject matter is deadly serious, but the film is family friendly although I would caution parents to watch it first due a particular scene.

Story – Draws you in and makes you care for the characters.
Acting – When are they going to have a best acting category for kids?
Visuals – A beautifully filmed movie.
Soundtrack – Ambient sounds and music add to the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on July 21, 2014
Format: DVD
An unlikely underdog-story from Australia, “The Rocket” showcases the struggles of a Laotian family as they go in search of a new home after the construction of a dam forces them to abandon their native village, a situation that is emblematic of how indigenous people the world over are callously pushed aside to make way for an impersonal modern world.

Young Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe), the central character in the story, comes from a culture that believes that twins are by their very nature either good or evil, and since Ahlo is himself a surviving twin (his brother having been stillborn), the family - his mild-mannered father and cantankerous, superstitious grandmother - can’t quite decide whether he’s a good luck charm or a bad luck charm, though they suspect he is probably the latter. This puts Ahlo in the rather awkward position of feeling like every time some calamity befalls the family, he is somehow indirectly responsible for it. The three travelers are accompanied by an elderly Laotian who, as a child, fought on the side of the Americans during the war and who’s so obsessed with James Brown that he dresses like him and carries his recordings with him wherever he goes, and his feisty little niece who quickly becomes Ahlo’s confidante and companion on the journey.

The crux of the plot is Ahlo’s attempts to win a cash prize for the best homemade rocket built out of the many un-detonated explosives that lie strewn across the countryside, a sad and painful remnant of the long-ago war that, all these years later, continues to cast an indomitable shadow over the region. It’s a contest with its roots planted partly in science and partly in traditional superstition, since the goal is to appease the gods by seeding the clouds in the hope of making it rain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 8, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This is a film that was made by Australians with the financial assistance of Screen Australia but is set in Laos. It tells the story of ten year old Ahlo. He was born as a twin, his sibling not surviving birth. In his tribe twins are seen as one being good luck and the other being bad - his grandmother decides that he is the bad luck one and thinks he should die.

His mother loves him and he grows up but the curse of his bad luck taints everything. So every misfortune can be related to him. Then the authorities turn up to build a new dam and they have to leave their ancestral home. What follows is a trip across beautiful Laos, a land that is still riddled with ordnance and the scars of the Vietnam War.

Ahlo finally thinks he might be able to prove he isn't cursed when he sees an opportunity to enter the rocket competition of a town. This town awards a big cash prize to the best rocket - in the hope it will please the gods and make it rain.

The journey that they all go on will feature adventures with electricity, malaria, unexploded bombs and Laos' answer to James Brown. This film is one that has at its core a very positive message, but the road is a very rocky and my heart went out to Ahlo and his friends and family on a number of occasions. Writer and director Kim Mordaunt has made a film to be proud of and it is Australia's official entry for an Academy Award 2014 for best foreign language film. In Lao with good sub titles and a run time of 96 minutes, this is a film it is very easy to recommend indeed.
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