Pop Aye (M18)
Starring Thaneth Warkulnukroh, Penpak Sirikul, Bong
Directed by Kirsten Tan
Thana (Thaneth Warkulnukroh) is an architect suffering from a mid-life crisis; his job is in a rut and his wife hates his guts.
Yes, it sucks to be Thana.
One day, as fate would have it, he encounters Popeye (Bong), a circus elephant he once knew from his childhood, on the streets of Bangkok. He buys the pachyderm on the spur of the moment and the two embark on a road trip to Thana’s hometown in Loei.
Along the way, the duo encounter assorted kooks, including a vagrant who has a vision of his own death and a downtrodden transvestite. Their interactions with these accidental companions are intercut with flashbacks explaining Thana’s history with Popeye.
An assured debut by Singaporean director Kirsten Tan — with Ilo Ilo helmer Anthony Chen as executive producer — Pop Aye is not only an endearing inter-species buddy dramedy, but also a bittersweet meditation on the passage of time and the permanence of memory.
If you’re easily worn out by the flash and racket of Hollywood’s latest noise machines (like Fast & Furious 8, also opening this week), then Pop Aye may offer some respite. In Thai with English subtitles. (3.5 stars)
Photo: Golden Village Pictures