So Be It is a documentary-fiction hybrid film written and directed by veteran filmmaker and scriptwriter Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, who is also a film professor at Assumption University in Thailand.
In its Singapore premiere at this year’s Southeast Asian Film Festival, organised by Singapore Art Museum, the film juxtaposes the endeavours of two Thai boys on their respective journeys with Buddhism as they grasp the philosophies of Buddhism, and “learn in their own ways to pursue freedom of mind and self-control of spirit”.
However, given their family backgrounds, and the conditions on which they have come into contact with Buddhism, their stories and experiences are far from parallel. They also have their own responses to Buddhism teaching while they learn the meaning of Buddhism in daily life.
Apart from the enjoyable and enlightening viewing experience, I must applaud the cinematography of the film, especially when the key characters in the film are not exactly the cooperative type. Well, you know what I mean when your lead actors are two strong-headed young men, perhaps the only similarity in the two cases.
The angles from which scenes and moving images are shot are well thought of, by a mix of flair and professionalism. Numerous moments in the film will make excellent still shots, beautiful and meaningful enough to be hung on the wall, be it the scenery or the captures of human interactions and daily activities.
I am very pleased with myself for getting a ticket early enough, because the show was sold out closer to its screening date. Many things in life may seem to be by choice. By choice or not, so be it.
So Be It by Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, 2014, Thailand, 85 minutes, Thai and Hmong (with English and Thai subtitles at the Southeast Asian Film Festival).