Director: Eric Khoo
Starring: Theresa Chan, Ezann Lee, Seet Keng
Yew, Chiew Sung Ching, Samantha Tan, Lynn Poh
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: M-18 (Mature Content)
Date: 8 September 2005
with our members on "Be With Me" here!
“Be With Me” is a tapestry of stories woven around
the themes of love, hope and destiny. The characters lead
separate lives but are bound by one common desire - to be
with their loved one. The protagonists in the movie are fictitious
except for Theresa Chan, whose life story inspired “Be
With Me.” Deaf and blind since she was 14, Theresa,
now 61, has triumphed over her disabilities to live an amazing
elderly shopkeeper living the twilight of his years in loneliness.
A timid security guard pining for unattainable love. A teenager
experiencing love, and love lost. These are the 3 storylines
intertwined in Be With Me, Eric Khoo's latest feature film
which won accolades in Cannes 2005's Director's Fortnight.
Inspired by the autobiographical life of Theresa Chan,
who became blind and deaf, her tale props the others
with inner strength, contrasting their fears and
regrets with her courage to live life to the fullest
despite her double handicap.
the young adult audience, most should have no difficulty identifying
with the puppy love stage in the So In Love segment. The initial
passionate stage that lovers experience with each other, the
insecurities that creep in, the fear of losing the other.
As fast as love is established through a flurry of SMS messages
and online chat sessions, as fast as love is lost through
the cessation of communication.
this segment is the most talked about, with the focus of love
between members of the same gender. Jackie and Sam (note the
androgynous names, played by Ezann Lee and Samantha Tan respectively)
provide the eye-candy in a tale of modern young love. The
expectation of reciprocation and committment from the other
half may stifle the relationship, especially
when one is just experimenting with the other. Newcomer Samantha
holds her own against the
performance of Ezann (who has TV experience), and without
spoken dialogue, kudos to their performances in silence and
through body language and facial expressions.
"Finding Love", another rookie, Seet Keng Yew, stars
as Fatty Koh, the timid security guard who admires Ann (played
by Lynn Poh), an executive who works in the office he's guarding,
from afar. Consciously aware of their social divide, he cannot
bring himself to express his feelings for her, and takes to
stalking her movements in the office, at play, and from the
compounds of her home.
as seen from the perspective of the middle aged, this segment
continues Eric Khoo's exploration of the working class in
Singapore, following the heartlander life of Fatty, his neighbours,
his unsupportive family (cult cameo favourite Lim Poh Huat
appears with 3
spoken lines) and based in familiar settings like coffeeshops,
HDB flats, and the kitchen.
with the lack of courage for face to face communications,
Fatty decides to write a letter to
Ann, and even has difficulties coming to terms with and putting
down his feelings on paper. But when he finally does, the
cruel hand of Fate deals a blow.
To Be" opens the film, where we see an elderly shopkeeper
closing his store, and bringing the audience into the world
of his private lonely life. The long wrinkled lines on his
face tells you he has experienced much sorrow and loss. He
cooks for himself and his wife, but the dishes remain simple.
His son, a social worker, drops by only occassionally to visit,
and in one such visit, he brought along the story of Theresa
Chan, inspiring his father, and through food, we see that
the elderly man found new purpose in life, finally letting
go of the loss and pain.
segment is touted by many as the most powerful of all, as
it mixes Theresa Chan's courageous story into itself. We wait
with abated breath for the moment the two characters finally
meet, and it is a scene so poignant in itself, with little
said but just an embrace, bringing across forgiveness and
soothe, and tears to many.
of Eric Khoo's short films will know that the elderly man,
played by Chiew Sung Ching, had starred in an earlier short
film "Symphony 92.4FM", a role in which calls for
an acting range quite similar to the one in Be With Me, a
role written by Eric with Chiew specifically in mind, spending
6 months tracking him down to star in this film.
seen each character faced with communication challenges, and
each are without physical handicap. And here lies the strength
of Theresa Chan's story. Be With Me is essentially a silent
film, and the use of subtitles to narrate the story of Theresa
brings close to home an example of how silent and dark Theresa's
world is. Physically that is. Which doesn't stop the strong
lady's indomitable will to live life to the fullest, and to
help others along the way.
is simply amazing to see her go about daily chores with ease,
and taking on mentorship roles in being a teacher in the school
for the blind. It makes the audience sit up and ponder about
life, and the naturally tendency to take our senses for granted,
of being unfulfilled with many unnecessary wants and desires,
forgetting the simple pleasures of life and living life.
had a local film touch so many facets of life, in love, sorrow,
loss and inspiration. Be With Me is truly a masterful classic
which commands a place in Singapore's film history. Watch
an amazing journey of life, love, loss and an inspiration
to guide us all)
by Stefan Shih