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The Rocket

The Rocket (Kim Mordaunt, 2013) prod. Sylvia Wilczynski; Berlinale; Lao language; shot in Thailand; Aust entry for consideration for nomination for Best Foreign Language Film award at 2014 Oscars

The adventures of a 10-year-old Laotian boy are subject to radically different interpretations in The Rocket, Australian documentarian Kim Mordaunt's impressive narrative debut. In a country where multinational interests are reshaping the landscape to suit their corporate needs, displaced villagers seek more familiar scapegoats to embody their misfortune — singling out, for instance, the film's pint-size hero, Ahlo, whose scrappy determination propels the action. A kid-centric slice of intractable humanism in the mode of The Kite Runner, Tsotsi, Whale Rider or Beasts of the Southern Wild, this Rocket could launch globally. Ronnie Scheib, Variety, 21 April, 2013.

A window peeps into unexpected corners of post-war Laos life in this poignant tale in which a young boy tries to shake the burden of a curse from his young shoulders by sheer determination. Kim Mordaunt's debut feature has a character and mood of its own, couched in its harsh, arid landscape, enhanced by Caitlin Yeo's ethereal music score and inhabited by a diverse cocktail of characters that include an alcoholic former soldier modelled on rocker James Brown and an angelic little girl with a missing front tooth. Mordaunt, whose 2007 documentary Bomb Harvest canvassed similar themes, impresses by delivering a unique and complex work with context and heart. Louise Keller, urbancinefile.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 January, 2013 | Now: 28 June, 2020