The misfortune for Eric Khoo’s Be With Me is that it’s being released in Britain so soon after Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s superior Three Times, another minimalist Asian triptych about romantic yearning.
The film is set in contemporary Singapore, with characters in a familiar predicament: despite having numerous opportunities for communication (phone, text, e-mail), they still struggle to articulate their true feelings. A shy security guard is enamoured with a businesswoman at work; an affair between two teenage girls ends acrimoniously; and a lonely widower grieves for his wife.
Khoo’s less-is-more approach favours static compositions and subdued colour. The lack of dialogue reinforces the theme, but Khoo fails to integrate the documentary-style scenes with the film’s inspiration, real-life deafblind author Theresa Chan.
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