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'Be With Me'

Atentative Singaporean film that mixes documentary fact and scripted fiction in a way that's become terribly hip on the festival circuit, Be With Me is a lovelorn fugue between four tales of loss. The central figure is the Helen Keller–ish Theresa Chan, an elderly deaf-blind woman (playing, or being, herself), whose published autobiography inspired director Eric Khoo's concentric narratives. Which we receive in near-silent dribs, a flash or fragment at a time: An aged shopkeeper nurses his bedridden wife with carefully prepared cuisine, a text-message-addicted girl links up with a chatroom mystery girl and embarks on a fated gay affair, and an obese security guard stalks a svelte yuppie. Khoo's strategy is all mood and no drama, veering close to sentimental shortcuts even before Chan and the inspiring details of her daily life take over the film and subtly invade its fictional world. Sometimes clumsy and dry, always sympathetic, and wryly interested in the impact food has on social intercourse, Be With Me is eventually affecting once its elliptical shape becomes clear.


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