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Buoyancy (Rodd Rathjen, 2019) wr. Rodd Rathjen, prod. Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton; Sarm Heng, Thanawut Karso, Mony Ros; slavery drama; premiere Berlin 8Feb; released 26Sept2019

14-year-old Chakra is sold as a slave labourer to the captain of a Thai fishing vessel. The captain's rule on board is cruel and arbitrary.

This elegant debut feature by Australian writer-director Rodd Rathjen is at once harrowing and briskly entertaining. Inspired by appalling true accounts of modern slavery in Southeast Asia, Buoyancy tells the story of Chakra (Sarm Heng), a headstrong 14-year-old sick of his modest, mundane existence in rural Cambodia. After an explosive confrontation with his stern father, he makes hasty plans to cross the border into Thailand, in the hope of securing a well-paid factory job. But the boy is promptly swindled by a merciless broker, thrust aboard a decrepit fishing trawler, and forced into backbreaking labour by a gleefully sadistic captain, Rom Ran (Thanawut Kasro). Paul O'Callaghan, Sight&Sound.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 November, 2019 | Now: 21 November, 2019