One month after the purchase, I sat down in front of the small screen reluctantly with cowie to experience the made-in-Singapore Mee Pok Man with our not-so-yummy takeaways from the Pine’s café. Like it? I did not. Perhaps it was the still of the blown up vagina juxtaposed with local hawker delights during the opening sequence, which I thought, then, was unnecessary and totally unappetizing. Or it could be the incessant movements from my ADHD partner and the “fat_greedy_pig_of_a_cocker_spaniel” that ceased my patience to watch a mood piece. When the credits started to roll, I was only too glad. In addition, I was too quick to label Mee Pok Man a pretentious art house flick that uses shock tactics like necrophilia to create a splash at the international film circuit.
Despite my inability to relate to his films, I decided that the three full-length feature films Eric Khoo has made could make an interesting case study for my final year research project. Expectedly, Be With Me failed to impress me. Amongst my first viewings of the three films, I thought 12 stor[e]ys was the best, followed by Mee Pok Man. However, having just watched Be With Me under an hour ago for the second time, there were moments I was touched. Moments in the film when I thought were too frugal in dialogue previously have seemed to be appropriated and made succinct to me.
It could be the fact that I was watching Be With Me the first time, alone. Or perhaps it is time to admit that, given the right time, right place and right moment, Eric Khoo does have the talent to instill senses of alienation, loneliness and despair.