|Index||2 reviews in total|
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".
A middle age architect named Thana buys an elephant and starts travel
by road. He leaves home due to some domestic issues with his wife.
Along the travel he encounters few quaint characters.
It is clear from beginning that the elephant is a fit metaphor for the protagonist. The movie is recommended for elderly people since there are many instances in which the aging theme is treated. Another sub-theme is dealing with the memories of the past.
Along the way, Thana also encounters greed, ignorance, selfishness or cruelty. Occasionally, there are moments of gratitude and kindness.
One of the characters is a poor man who pretends he is married with a woman that he knew years ago. That reminded me of 'The three burials of Melquiades Estrada', a journey movie that treats similar themes.
The elephant (Pop Aye) itself is cute and smart, as expected. You might learn a few bits about the pachyderm's behaviour. Animal lovers would love it. In conclusion, an enjoyable experience.
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