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POP AYE

12:30   2:40   4:45   7:00   9:20

Through Tuesday, July 11

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY KIRSTEN TAN

A man and his elephant walk into a bar: well, not quite -- but close. POP AYE is the story of a successful Bangkok architect whose late-midlife crisis leads him to an encounter with the elephant (Popeye) with whom he spent an idyllic childhood in the Thai countryside. Together they embark on a road trip to deliver both man and beast to their origins. The local police cite him for not having a permit to travel with an elephant; a transgendered prostitute joins him in a karaoke duet at a roadside dive; and a poetic, possibly delusional, pauper offers companionship. But the real star is the big guy: Popeye lumbers along with great dignity and endless fortitude. He is the center of a mysterious, funny and often absurd universe that while seemingly particular to Thailand is, ultimately, not unlike our own.

SINGAPORE / THAILAND • 2017 • 102  MINS. • IN ENGLISH AND THAI WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
KINO LORBER

Reviews

“They make a funny pair, by turns amusing and puzzling, though also melancholic and touching... Like all road movies, POP AYE also journeys into the interior lives of its characters, a trip that is aided and abetted by other travelers... Each adds another detail, a splash of color and real warmth… (The elephant) is beautiful and heartbreaking.”
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“Co-stars a large elephant and much of the film’s emotional heft hinges on his warm visage. His tender presence lingers over the action at all times. Bong [the elephant], has such a magnificent charisma that Tan’s film lights up whenever he’s on screen. He’s genuinely worth the price of admission.”
– Vikram Murthi, RogerEbert.com

“Writer-director Kirsten Tan has pulled off POP AYE with candor and laid-back aplomb. Warm yet unsentimental, graced with the lightest touch of surrealism. A joy for patient viewers. A journey that is neither the pleasant escape nor spiritual quest that many road movies set themselves up to be.”
– Maggie Lee, Variety

“A tender and sharply etched journey. Loneliness, alienation, the ache of nostalgia and the everyday absurdity of life infuse every encounter in the unconventional road trip. Unhurried and unforgettable. Thaneth Warakulnukroh brings a perfect combination of melancholy, frustration and frayed vitality to the role of Thana. Laced with piercing humor, Tan’s dialogue has a natural sting to match its open-heartedness, echoed in the plangent exuberance of Matthew James Kelly’s score, which sometimes recalls the jangle and twang of Morricone. Every character and relationship is imbued with a fascinating complexity. The full extent of Thana’s connection to the elephant… takes this tale of middle-aged angst to unexpected depths.”
– Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

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POP AYE: Q & A with filmmaker Kirsten Tan moderated by Grady Hendrix of the NY Asian Film Festival

Recorded June 28, 2017
POP AYE