VIFF 2013 review: The Rocket
Part pastoral fable, part political plea, director Kim Mordaunt’s Laos-set film is ideal audience-favourite fodder. Ten-year-old Ahlo (played naturally by a former street kid) is an outcast who’s relocated from his family’s beautiful valley to a crowded camp, where he takes up with an orphan and her booze—and James Brown–loving uncle. Only a rocket-building competition offers him a way to shoot above his situation. Mordaunt celebrates the storybook landscapes of Laos, yet exposes its hardships—everything from unexploded bombs that linger from the Vietnam War to the scourge of giant dam projects overseen by westerners. Bittersweet and incredibly shot, with a small injection of the supernatural.
SFU, September 26 (4 p.m.); International Village, September 28 (3:40 p.m.); Centre, October 1 (6:30 p.m.).