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Audience favorite film ‘The Rocket’ to screen at Chalmette Movies

“You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re lucky.” – A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams.

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Level K

Ahlo is a young boy besieged by bad luck ever since his supposedly cursed birth. He is a twin, a bad omen intensified because his brother was stillborn. His grandmother, who helped deliver him, reads the signs and is convinced that if Ahlo lives, he will be curse upon the family. But his mother cannot bear to lose another child and spares him.

Unfortunately, as omens often do in movies, it is seemingly fulfilled and a dark cloud firmly positions itself over the family. There is a tremendous amount of loss in a relatively short period time. Homeless and in mourning, the family sets out to find a new life.

Along the way, the scrappy Ahlo meets a feisty orphan named Kia and her eccentric uncle Purple, a tormented ex-soldier with a flashy purple suit, a debilitating alcohol problem, and an unexplained obsession with James Brown. Together, they traipse through a land scarred by war in search of a new home.

Like Ahlo, Purple is struggling with some serious personal demons. Though they form a bond as outsiders, the focus is squarely on Ahlo, which leaves you yearning to explore Purple’s past and problems even more than the film allows.

Eventually, desperate to prove he is not cursed, Ahlo builds (with the help of Purple's bomb-making expertise) a giant, explosive rocket to enter the most a lucrative, yet dangerous competition: the Rocket Festival. But will Ahlo’s bad luck follow them forever? Or can he change his fate?

The film is set in the Southeast Asian country of Laos, the most bombed country in the world thanks to the Vietnam War, the effects of which are still visible in the country decades later. Seen through a child’s eyes, the film chooses to observe the old damages (bombings) and new changes (a dam expansion that forces a whole village to move) inflicted upon the country while making no real grand political statement. Though a constant presence in the background of the film, it provides a parallel with Ahlo and his family struggling to overcome loss and make it in the world.

The story is a simple and well-meaning fable. Guided by an endearing and enthusiastic performance by its young lead (Sitthiphon Disamoe), the film is a sweet and uplifting tale of perseverance and self-worth. The film skirts most of the issues you initially expect it to tackle, choosing to focus on the heartening more than the heartbreak.

The Rocket won several awards (including the coveted Audience Awards) at the Tribeca, Sydney, and Berlin film festivals last year. The film was also Australia’s official entry for the Academy Awards.


Presented by the New Orleans Film Society, The Rocket will screen for three-days only (February 9 – 11) at Chalmette Movies. The film 2:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday night.

So come out and support Chalmette Movies (8700 W. Judge Perez Dr.) by catching this new film, so that the theater can continue bringing interesting films like these to the New Orleans-area. Also, visit the theater’s website for more information, directions, showtimes, and ticket prices.

For more information on this event and many others held year round by the NOFS, as well as membership info, you can also check the New Orleans Film Society website.


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