Pop Aye is the charming, yet poetically profound, story of once-successful Bangkok architect Thana (Thaneth Warakulnukroh), who is disillusioned with his job and his life at home. One day, as he wanders the city, he chances upon an elephant whom he recognizes as Pop Aye, his beloved childhood friend from their rural home town, named after a favorite cartoon. Impulsively buying the elephant on the spot, Thana decides to take him back to his childhood home, 300 miles away in the idyllic Thai countryside.
“Unforgettable. Every character and relationship is imbued with a fascinating complexity.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter
They set off on an adventurous road trip together, rebuilding their bond of friendship along the way. During their travels, they meet a colorful cast of characters including a pair of nonplussed local police officers, a forlorn transgender sex worker, and a mysteriously wise drifter convinced that his days are numbered. As the encounters mount and the bond between man and elephant deepens, Singapore-born writer/director Kirsten Tan weaves a strikingly universal tale in this feature debut that won prizes (and hearts) at the Sundance and Rotterdam Film Festivals. (Dir. by Kirsten Tan, 2017, Thailand/Singapore, in Thai with English subtitles, 102 mins., Not Rated)