Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice

Daan Veldhuizen
2015 | 93 minutes | Netherlands, Laos
New York Premiere  | Director in Attendance

As the monsoon rains lift, a remote village in northern Laos transforms from a sleepy hamlet into a tourist hotspot in a story that harkens back to Dennis O’Rourke’s classic, Cannibal Tours. Western backpackers arrive searching for less modernity and more authenticity, yet feast on banana pancakes—a Western delicacy paradoxically served by the local Laotians. Daan Veldhuizen films at the crossroads of these two groups and produces a delicate meditation on how we relate to others in a rapidly globalizing world. As the narrative evolves, he takes a more participatory role in the film, realizing that documentary-making, like tourism, is never an invisible presence. 

Co-presented by Dutch Culture USA and the Asia Society 

Thresholds, My Perspective

"The world doesn’t make any sense, but we desperately want it to. Maybe because it is difficult to accept the likeliness that life is a coincidence set off by an unknown force. We create boundaries to identify, group, and categorize; this is this, that is that, you are you, and I am me. Now things have a meaning and it feels safe to belong somewhere. Nations, cultures, and religions teach us who we are and what to believe, but let us not forget that the world itself has no boundaries, only we have. Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice is a poetic film about desire. I want to reflect on how relative it is, as the grass always seems to be greener on the other side."

- Daan Veldhuizen | Director, Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice