Banana Pancakes and the Lonely Planet

A film by Daan Veldhuizen. S

When back­pa­ckers come to a small vil­la­ge in rural Laos, their arri­val divi­des the local popu­la­ti­on and dis­rupts the rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween two child­hood friends. A com­plex East-meets-West sto­ry, told in a cine­ma­to­gra­phic lan­guage that is as rich as it is confrontational.

While the advent of tou­rists radi­cal­ly chan­ged the ori­gi­nal rela­ti­ons wit­hin a vil­la­ge some­whe­re in the north of Laos, Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice is not a film about good against evil. The back­pa­ckers are not basi­cal­ly loo­king to unsett­le the place; this is just a side-effect of their arri­val. And the vil­la­gers do dream of more wealth and luxu­ry. The film does­n’t con­demn, but does tack­le the cul­tu­re clash in crys­tal clear images and scenes.
The lan­guage in which this hap­pens is bey­ond ciné­ma véri­té. Daan Veldhuizen con­structs situa­tions in such a way that they are more expe­ri­en­ces than record­ings. The uni­que ele­ment of Banana Pancakes is that this also app­lies to the cen­tral the­me of the film. You can feel the une­a­se that emer­ges when tou­rists pene­tra­te the vil­la­ge. Undoubtedly with the best of inten­ti­ons, but so reco­gnis­able and embarr­as­sing it gives rise to sur­ro­ga­te shame.

Laos / Niederlande 2015, 85 Min., Lao, Englisch, Französisch, Niederländisch, Hebräisch mit dt. Ut. 
Buch, Kamera & Regie: Daan Veldhuizen
Schnitt: Daan Veldhuizen, Jos Driessen