So Be It
So Be It is the latest film from Kongdej Jaturanrasamee (Sayew, P0-47) following the lives of two young boys, seven-year-old William and ten-year-old Bundit. The viewer is treated to an eye-opening exploration of the different ways Buddhism influences Thai society.
The two boys couldn’t be more different. William, a cheeky Thai-American boy, surprises his parents by taking part in a reality TV show where he’s ordained as a monk. To William, it’s all good fun, but unfortunately taking part in the show has lasting effects. Back at home he’s now the religious leader of his school and he’s gained more than a few admirers. William struggles with whether or not he truly wants to be a monk and spends his summer visiting his old teacher at the temple.
For Bundit though, his relationship with Buddhism is much more complex. A stubborn boy from a rural background, he was sent by his parents to live and study at a temple in Ang Thong Province for a chance at a better life. Bundit is a trouble-maker, often skipping classes and refusing to sleep in the dorm rooms. We’re told that if he continues to disobey he’ll be forced to become a monk. Bundit’s summer is spent at home, and it’s his arrival there that marks the first real smile we see from him.
Buddhism means two very different things for the boys; for William it’s a choice, an opportunity to seek enlightenment, for Bundit it’s his best shot at a life. Though the first few minutes, taken straight from the reality TV show (complete with bright colours and loud, bouncy music), can be a little jarring if you don’t know what you’re in for, the rest of the film is a poignant illustration of the differences between these two boy’s lives, and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor. The cinematography is beautiful, with many a breathtaking shot of the Thai countryside. The attention to detail is exquisite.
So Be It is definitely a thought-provoking work, leaving the audience pondering whether or not the two boys’ decisions to become monks were really theirs.
So Be It does not yet have a UK release date.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Berlin Film Festival 2015 visit here.
Watch the trailer for So Be It here: