|reporting the edge||credits|
home | about | news | contents | gossip | photographs | venues | brighton | dublin | edinburgh | film | features | interviews | awards | fashion | recipes | no more drinks | newsletter | links | contact
Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.Today Is Better Than Two Tomorrows
Verdict: Lao boy monks documentary
This documentary charts a year or so in the life of two boys aged 11-12, Leh and Bo, in Laos, South-East Asia. Leh leaves his remote village to become a novice monk and Bo, his friend and cousin, goes through various difficulties before eventually joining the same monastery.
Director Anna Rodgers lets events in the boys' lives tell their own story, with narration confined to necessary background information told through subtitles. The camera follows their journey from their village to the regional city of Luang Prabang and Leh's new life as a novice, as well as Bo's less hopeful life in another town.
While joining a monastery at such a young age may sound strange to people from outside Laos, in Laos it is viewed as a way of getting an education, as novices can leave and become lay persons again after several years. The film suggests that the only way to avoid a life as a hard-pressed farmer in rural Laos is to become a novice monk, get educated and - as the boys' parents put it - 'work in an office'. While the monks emphasise the importance of study, Leh gets plenty of time to play with his hand-held video games.
Particularly strong are the close-up shots of the boys' faces as they deal with the major changes happening in their lives and they begin to face the hard choices of adulthood. The understated stoicism of their parents shows in a genuine way the pressures they face, in one of Asia's poorest countries.
Anna Rodgers also has a great eye for juxtaposition of old and new. For example, a sweeping shot of temples and forest in exotic Luang Prabang is suddenly interrupted by a jet airliner. The tourists carried by the airliner, who are always taking pictures of the monks, are themselves caught by Anna Rodgers on camera several times, as the picture hunters become the hunted.
CAST: (imdb): www.imdb.com/title/tt1329450
COMPANY: Director - Anna Rodgers. Cinematographer - Anna Rodgers. Editors - Oliver Fallen, Emer Reynolds. Producer - John Murray. Company - Crossing The Line Films (http://www.ctlfilms.com/). In Association With - Soilsiú Films (www.soilsiu.com). Supported By - Irish Film Board (www.irishfilmboard.ie). (imdb): www.imdb.com/title/tt1329450
OTHER: Official Site - www.todayisbetterthantwotomorrows.com
(c) Colman Higgins 2009
reviewed Saturday 21 February 2009 / Cineworld 9, Dublin
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013