Winning modern-day fable

Sitthiphon Disamoe in The Rocket
Sitthiphon Disamoe in The Rocket

Made by Australian director Kim Mordaunt and set in Laos, The Rocket (Cert PG) is a modern-day fable of a boy’s rite of passage.

The beauty of cinematographer Andrew Commis’ pictures of the spectacular mountain scenery belie the harsh reality of life in the war-ravaged country.

Ahlo (Sittiphon Disamoe, pictured) is a 10-year-old boy who is believed to carry bad luck as a surviving twin at birth.

He is blamed when his community is forced to move out of their village for a dam construction and after further tragedy befalls his family, it is he who drives them on to find a new home.

On the way he befriends a sprited nine-year-old orphan Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and her eccentric James Brown-obsessed uncle Purple (Thai comedian Thep Phongam), damaged by war and an outcast after collaborating with the Americans.

Stumbling on a village holding a bizzare Rocket Festival, Ahlo determines to build a giant explosive rocket to win the cash prize which can transform the fortunes of his family - and prove he’s not cursed.

It’s a simple heart-warming tale with a few magic realism elements and winning performances from the two children which gives an insight into a country rarely seen on screen.

1 London-born director Jonathan Glazer sharply divided critics at the 2013 Venice Film Festival with Under the Skin (Cert 15), his quixotic and dreamlike sci-fi drama and is likely to do the same to UK audiences. Adapted from Michel Faber’s story of the same name, Under The Skin centres on a beautiful young woman called Laura (Scarlett Johansson), who drives around the country in her large van, picking up unsuspecting men like Andrew (Paul Brannigan) with the promise of sex. As they wander into her various dimly lit lairs, these would-be suitors are oblivious to the shocking truth: Laura is an earthbound extra-terrestrial who sheds her skin during copulation and overwhelms them at the height of their pleasure in a sea of viscous oil-like gloop.

Terry Gilliam lets his imagination run riot in The Zero Theorem Cert 15), a dystopian futuristic fantasy that has obvious echoes of Brazil.