6 Apr – The acclaimed Kirsten Tan-directed Singaporean film, "Pop Aye", is a lyrical, comedic road-trip drama about the power of simple acts of kindness in a world of lost innocence and missed opportunities.
So you can imagine how surprised the producers were when they learned that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) gave the film an M18 rating.
"I didn't think the film would get an M18, to be honest. I thought it would be NC16," said Anthony Chen, the executive producer of "Pop Aye", as quoted by The Straits Times.
"I've seen full frontal nudity with NC16. But it's a good film and I want audiences to see it in the way it should be seen."
The unexpected announcement doesn't deter Chen in the slightest. He even hopes now that it's M18, more people will be tempted to watch it. It might even be better for the film's marketing once it is known that it contains raunchy scenes.
Some of the reasons for the rating are the presence of sexual scenes, which include one of oral sex and one of a couple having sex in a dimly lit room, and "female upper body nudity" as well as "infrequent use of the word 'f***'", according to IMDA.
Director Kirsten Tan said that Thana, the main character who is going through a mid-life crisis, is based off of men she had met in real life, including her father.
The actor behind Thana, Thaneth Warakulnokroh, acted in films, television and on stage when he was younger, but he quit 30 years ago to focus on a career in music. Even so, he appeared as the main character in the film because he felt like he identified with the issues his character faced.
"Pop Aye" follows Thana who unexpectedly runs into his long lost, childhood "pet" elephant, Popeye. The two go on a journey across Thailand to return the displaced Popeye back to rural Loei, the small village Thana grew up in.
"Pop Aye" opens in Singapore on 13 April 2017.
Following its Singaporean debut, it will then be making its West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) in the U.S. this 30 April, where it will also compete in the International Competition against 14 other titles including Midi Z's "The Road to Mandalay" and Anocha Suwichakornpong's "By the Time It Gets Dark".