10 Best Lao Movies To Help Practice

lao movies

It’s easier to learn foreign languages these days, thanks to the advent of language learning applications like Ling. As an alternative, you can watch Lao movies if you’re interested in learning the language. You see, embracing the abundance of available resources leaves little room for excuses to procrastinate. You only need to tap into whatever is available and convenient. In this post, let me guide you through the best films from Laos that you can binge-watch to become familiar with the language.

Learning Common Foreign Words Through Watching

Did you know that over 50% of foreigners learning English watched shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad” to improve their English? Crazy, right? If you’re familiar with the Korean boy band BTS, one of its members, RM (Rap Monster), admitted to watching the American sitcom “Friends” to enhance his English.

The trend can be explained by the Pareto principle, which states that most spoken language can be understood using a small collection of words. Moreover, it says that over 80% of everyday speech consists of merely 1000 of the most common words. This means you can speed up learning real-life conversations by primarily focusing on the commonly used terms. And where can you best get those terms? From movies, of course!

flag of Laos pasted on a black keyboard with white letters

Common Lao Words Used In Everyday Conversations

Before we dive into the list of Lao movies, here are the most commonly used Lao words in everyday conversations. You’ll likely also come across these words when you watch Laos movies, television shows, and other Lao visual stories.

English TranslationLao ScriptLao Pronunciation
HelloສະບາຍດີSabaidee
Youຂ້າພະເຈົ້າKhap jai
Iຂ້າພະຂາດKhap kha
YesດີDee
Noບໍ່Baw
Thank youຂໍໃຫ້ຫາຍKhop chai
PleaseກະລຸນາKhoy anha
SorryຂອບໃຈKhor thot
Welcomeເຈົ້າຊົ່ວຮ່ວມChao suvannakhet
GoodbyeຢະດູກາສອນSoud dai
Excuse meດອກກໍາExcuse me
Not yetບໍ່ໄດ້Baw dai
Yes, pleaseອະທິບາຍAe thip baw
No, thank youບໍ່ອອກມາBaw ao thip
Hello, how are you?ສະບາຍດີຂອງຂ້າພະເຈົ້າSabaidee kao
You, you tooຂ້າພະເຈົ້າດີຂອງຂ້າKhap jai, khap jai
You, thank youຂ້າພະເຈົ້າດີທ່ານດີKhap jai, khop chai
I’m not fineບໍ່ເຈົ້າໄດ້Baw chao suvannakhet
Something for youສິ່ງທີ່ຈະຂອງຂ້າCiang thii, paeng khong khao
No problemເຂົ້າຮ່ວມບໍ່ມີBaw khao mii
woman covered white bed sheet watching a movie in her laptop with her hands holding her cheeks

The Best Lao Movies To Hone Your Language Skills

Here are the movies that garnered recognition from the Luang Prabang Film Festival and praise from different parts of Southeast Asia and the world. You can watch them not only to practice the Lao language but also to enjoy the experience:

  1. The Long Walk

This 2019 adventure drama is directed by the first female Lao director, Mattie Do. “The Long Walk” effectively weaves together elements of drama, sci-fi, time travel, and ghostly encounters. The movie begins with a man encountering a fatally injured woman on a rural road. He connects with her as she loses her life, leading to his discovery of her ability to send him on time travel. It is a story of facing childhood traumas and realizing the ill effects of changing the past.

  1. River

Released in 2015, this Canadian indie thriller tells the story of an American volunteer doctor who spent his time wasted at a local bar after a failed emergency operation. While heading home, he saw a local woman assaulted by a tourist. He instinctively helps, causing the lifeless assailant’s body. To make matters worse, the doctor becomes a fugitive after getting charged with murder and sexual assault. It then becomes a story of regaining his life and proving his innocence.

  1. The Rocket

This 2013 film is set in a remote small village in northern Laos at the center of war in a heavily bombed country. It depicts the story of a boy cursed by the local people, Ahlo, who is committed to proving his self-worth by winning the cash prize at a festival.

  1. Dearest Sister: Nong Hak

This film was directed by Maggie Do in 2016. It’s a horror film about a Lao village girl, Nok, who cares for her rich cousin, who mysteriously acquires the ability to speak with the dead and predict whatever is to come. Nok used that ability to win the lottery, which led to problems as servants found out about it.

  1. Rescue Dawn

“Rescue Dawn” is a 2007 high-budgeted film based on a true story. It is about a German-born U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, who was imprisoned in a remote jungle camp in Lao during the Vietnam War. As food becomes scarce, the pilot devises ways to escape with the help of his fellow inmates.

  1. The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)

This 2008 documentary film is 23 years in the making. It recounts the experience of co-director Thavi Phrasavath when he escaped from Laos at the height of the Vietnam War. He seeks refuge along with his family in neighboring Thailand and then later on faces other challenges in Brooklyn.

  1. Love Is Forever

Filmed primarily in Thailand, this politically charged 1983 film depicts the story of a Western journalist in Laos during the Pathet Lao regime. An East German advisor is closely monitoring the journalist. Despite all the tension, the journalist falls for a local woman who was supposed to spy on him. Together, they set out an escape across the Mekong River, featuring captivating underwater shots.

  1. Sabai Dee, Luang Prabang

This is among the first feature films shot in Laos after the Communist regime was reinstated in power. This 2008 romantic drama tells the story of Sorn, a photographer of Lao descent. This Australian drama begins when he visits the country for an assignment and falls in love with Noy, his tour guide.

  1. Lost In Laos

This 2012 film tells the story of Daniela and Paolo, a tourist couple who got lost while tubing in Vang Vieng. It features the hospitality and unspoiled natural beauty of Laos as the couple gets a warm reception from the locals of tribal villages.

  1. Banana Pancakes And The Children of Sticky Rice

As much as the locals are curious about the outside world, they are worried about the consequences of blooming tourism. This is what this 2015 documentary is about. It showcases the picturesque beauty of Laos while exploring cultural transformation and landscape evolution.

Ready To Learn Lao?

Don’t want to spend on cable or streaming services? Simply download the Ling app, readily downloadable from either the Play Store or App Store, to start transforming your mobile device into a language companion of unparalleled convenience. With it, you can learn many languages, such as Tagalog, Malayalam, French, Arabic, Cantonese, and more! Give it a try now!

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