Passport Series 2017

Pop Aye (Thailand)

Thana (Thaneth Warakulnukroh, a rock musician in his first acting role) faces a midlife crisis: his career as an architect is being obliterated by modernization and his wife finds him sexually lacking. After a chance encounter with his childhood elephant, Popeye (Bong), he seizes the chance to escape from Bangkok and return Popeye to his childhood village. Without a car, Thana is forced to beg for rides. Hitchhiking with an elephant, however, is just as difficult as you can imagine. First-time director Kirsten Tan, who is Singaporean but lived in Thailand in her early twenties, introduces the two unlikely buddies to a variety of characters, by turns absurdist and heartbreaking, humorous and heartwarming, as Thana and Popeye try to make their way back home.

"Warm yet unsentimental, graced with the lightest touch of surrealism, this opening-night offering from Sundance's world cinema dramatic competition is a joy." (Maggie Lee, Variety)

"[Pop Aye is] beautiful and heartbreaking, both because of what he adds to the story but also for all the extracinematic meaning he can't help but bring, all the pain, all the tears." (Manohla Dargis, New York Times)