6.8/10
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Pop Aye (2017)

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On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Popeye
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Storyline

On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.

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Drama

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13 April 2017 (Singapore)  »

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Popeye  »

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Film-maker Kirsten Tan picked up the first-ever Sundance award won by a Singaporean for this film Pop Aye. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unusual road movie with a perfect screenplay. Unusual characters and situations along the journey, in addition to architect and elephant as main protagonists
25 February 2017 | by (Amersfoort, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Saw this at the Rotterdam film festival 2017 (website: iffr.com). Some (not this one) road movies are just an excuse for having no substantial plot, and seem only intended to connect a series of scenes or landscapes that stand out on itself yet without a binding relationship. With Pop Aye, however, this was NOT the case. The events followed each other logically after another, intermixed with some flashbacks that did not distract (that sometimes happens in other movies), but were inserted at places where definitely needed to provide for some background on our main character. A few flashbacks showed relevant situations in his youth, but most were referring to his current relationship with his wife, or it showed why he felt being unneeded in his job along his impression of being superfluous at home.

Our main protagonist changes along the passage of events and under the influence of the people he encounters, providing the story with a beginning and an ending that is believable. He met several extraordinary characters underway to that effect. The landscapes were shot very well too. However, showing beautiful places and unusual people was not the prime purpose of this road movie. The starting point for the situation wherein we meet the architect for the first time, can be recognized as something that can easily happen to all of us. That may not fully apply to the current journey with Pop Aye, but it certainly applies to his recent past as an architect, where he was deemed retarded by colleagues and superiors, often bypassing him when thinking that others were better able to deal with customers. And his "redundancy" at home was also something that can happen to all of us. Buying an elephant, however, is a completely different matter.

The story line is designed very well. It is remarkable that some of the people we encounter in the road movie are re-appearing in later scenes, and thus providing for more connections than our two main protagonists (man and elephant) alone. None of these re-appearances were far-fetched, which is the most surprising thing of all. (Side note: We heard before the screening that this movie got awarded a special mention by the jury in Sundance for best screenplay. Given the above, it is clear that I fully agree.) This movie got also rewarded in Rotterdam by a special non-professional jury of movie lovers, the so-called Big Screen Award, facilitating a theater release and a TV screening. This jury noted "Pop Aye gives hope at a time in which the world got divided more and more".


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