Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Be With Me- Eric Khoo

I finally caught the movie, "Be Wth Me" directed by our very own Singapore director, Eric Khoo.

"Be With Me" has been showcase in a few international film festivals and seemed to have received substantial rave reviews. And I did like "12 Stories" so I have rather high hopes of this movie.

"Be With Me" deals with love in different aspects through 3 different but linked stories. It is very, very quiet, especially in the first 20 minutes or so, with only one line of dialogue. And yet, far from being bored, I was captivated by the scenes and how they tell the story.. if you watch carefully. Think April Snow... though without any the good looking actors and pretty scenary...

And the music score captured the mood beautifully.

The only snag is, the character that was a link to the 3 stories- Theresa Chan.
Theresa is a real character, who is both blind and deaf. In the movie, she plays herself and the movie is based on her biography and the people that she met over the years.

Unfortunately, her part felt too much like a documentary and did not quite go with the other 3 stories. This is not to say her story is not worth telling. But perhaps it may have been better if it was dealt with separately. And it seems most critics did agree on this.

Still, it was well worth watching and I enjoyed the movie. The following would contain some spoilers to the movie, so be warned...

Meant to be
In this segment, Eric deals with love eternal and the pain of losing it in the twilight years. The movie opens with an elderly couple closing up their provision shop for the night. Somehow I find this scene very strong and moving...despite the fact that not a single one was spoken. In a way, that's how it is with old couples. Words are not needed. And then you see him in the market and subsequently cooking up a storm.....for his wife. Remember the scene in April Snow when In Soo was feeding his wife? In that scene there was no love though he was doing it dutifully and craefully. That was because they did not love each other any more. Here, in this scene, it was different as he lovingly, quitely fed her with the soup that he cooked painstakenly over the charcoal fire.

The old man (played by Chiew Sung Ching) does not say a single word during the whole movie. But you could feel his pain at tthe loss of his wife. He does not open the shop anymore, his wife's bowl and chopsticks is there next to him at mealtimes.

After a lifetime with your partner, what do you do when she leaves you? Because there is a void, an sense of emptiness in your everyday life, rituals and chores...especially the simple thing like food... there is no one to cook for anymore.

So In Love
If the first story was a quiet, plodding pace, then this is the opposite. Surprise, surprise... it is about 2 young girls in love. (Hmmm...the MDA actually passed this through) It is still a silent segment though as the young do not 'talk'. They text messages, they e-mail, they msn. I was not aware about this part as I didn't read the synopsis earlier, so I was quite surprised to find out that "Sam" and "Jackie" were 2 girls. And it was clever at the way it was revealed too.

2 pretty girls, in their teens...having a great time because they have found each other- their 'soulmate'. It is puppy love, yes. But as those of us who have been through this stage...a puppy love brings no less pain than a real love. And when one party loses interest and the relationship ends, it does seemed like the end of the world then.

How did the song go? 'Puppy Love' by Donny Osmond? Something like: "And they call it puppy love.."

Finding Love
Fatty Koh is a fat, sloppy guy. he eats alot. He shuffles and twitches his eye. In short, he's someone who may not be quite right, someone to be wary of.

He is secretly in love with this woman executive in his office.

He is well aware that it would not be possible but still he tries to work up enough courage to talk to her. We see him 'watching' her in the security cameras (he's a security guard), staring at her from her house below and following her from a distant as she goes shopping.

Ok, I'm a little biased here. I find the above slightly creepy actually. I'm not sure I want someone following me at my every move. But I'm sure if the character was played by a handsome Korean actor, I would have been melted at his love for her.

But seriously this guy is a mushy at heart. Because he finally took the step to write her a letter on a flowery paper. We also found out that he doesn't have a great supportive family and was probably even abused as a child. All these are through hints only- no script or dialogue. It is really amazing how words are often unnecessary.

I guess we all often talk way too much and do not listen and observe enough.

Theresa Chan
Theresa is a remarkable woman. Deaf and blind at a young age, she lives alone and takes care of herself very well-- including cooking and cleaning the place. She also learnt to speak English and type as well.

She is truely an inspiration. Unfortunately, her segment doesn't quite gel with the other 3 stories though she is the link in the final end.

And how does it all end? Ahh... there is a twist to it...I shall not reveal it here as I think you should watch the movie yourself. Let's just said that I found the scene when the old man and Theresa finally met really touching.

Here's some reviews and infomation about the movie.

Official website

And oh.... food seems to feature alot in this movie. Perhaps because it plays such an important role in our life and amongst Singaporeans. Coindentally, I'm also talking about food in my other kimchi blog. Click here if you want to read about it.

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