Pop Aye

Thaneth Warakulnukroh and Bong appear in Pop Aye by Kirsten Tan, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Chananun Chotrungroj.

In Bangkok, Thana (Thanet Warakulnukroh), a discouraged retiring architect, purchases a performance elephant he remembers from childhood, named Popeye (he actually hums the “Popeye the Sailor Man” theme to guide the elephant) and sets out on a journey across Thailand after his wife leaves him for having found her dildo! Along the way, he encounters various odd characters including a hobo at an abandoned gas station who is convinced he’s dying but hopes to give his wife one last bike ride before his demise! And, at a roadside bar, a few miles down a street full of watermelons, he joins a trans-woman (Yukontorn Sukkijja) singing Sue Thompson’s “Sad Movies” as karaoke! But what’s best for a man’s elephant? To find a place where it can freely roam, like the family farm. The debut feature by director Kristen Tan captures the wanderlust of a man whose first designed building is set for demolition as he realizes everything is transitory and temporary, and he sets out to recapture a world he has lost!

[NR]