Sun 19, 4:45pm (Classified PG)
Sat 25, 3pm (Classified PG)
An audience favourite at VIFF, Australia’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (a co-production with Laos and Thailand) is both a rapturous crowdpleasing comedy and a surprisingly resonant, tough little movie about the tensions between the traditional way of life of indigineous peoples and the energy development imperatives of government and industry.
According to Laotian tradition, ten-year-old Ahio is cursed by virtue of being born a twin - though only his mother and his grandmother know it, having covered up the death of his brother in childbirth. When a succession of tragedies befall his village and his family, though, his granny can’t keep it a secret any longer. Could he really be to blame for the dam project that forces them off their ancestral land? And everything else besides? The irrepressible Ahio refuses to believe it, but even his dad harbours doubts as the mischievous, enterprising lad keeps landing in hot water. Only an orphaned playmate and her alcoholic uncle - a Vietnam war veteran who models himself after US singer James Brown - accept the boy for who he is. But when a home-made rocket-building competition offers a chance of redemption, everyone’s trust will be pressed to the limit…