I was fortunate enough to be invited to a private screening of the film Estet by Mamat Khalid a month ago. Here is my review of the movie.
If you're a fan of Mamat Khalid's sense of humor, I urge you to get your ass to a nearby cineplex and watch Estet.
As a budding (and learning) filmmaker, I hate hate hate describing a movie in detail because you know, what's the point of watching the actual movie when you know what's going to happen? What's the point? To show off as a film critic? Bah!
Personally, this is my least favourite Mamat Khalid film. It is as if everyone is trying too hard to incorporate many elements (1Malaysia being one of them) in what was supposed to be a feel good romantic film. While we're talking about romance, Estet teases its audience with the malay hero and indian heroine's budding love for one another BUT there is no fucking romantic relief! I wasn't too surprised because all Mamat Khalid films have sucky, dry and unsatisfactory endings.
The sequent and flow of the film is so badly constructed that I can't make sense of the interconnecting elements of the film. In layman terms, susunan babak yang mengelirukan dan tak membina.
Fortunately, Estet is a compilation of Ujang-type jokes. There are plenty of funny scenes to make a cynic like me a happy chap. The funniest would be the suicide attempt. Oh so so funny!
I read somewhere in the newspaper that Mamat Khalid is frustrated because he didn't win Best Film for Estet in Festival Filem Malaysia. It was said the some of the judges were biased and the column writer even compared his situation with the late Yasmin Ahmad's loss in FFM.
But actually ah macha, FFM aside, Estet is not an award-worthy film, not unlike the actual winner of FFM. There are plenty of good films by Malaysians but they never get to be nominated in FFM. (Instead they are recognized in Berlin, Japan, Venice and Cannes. Yes, we Malaysians are stuck with mediocre films made by mediocre filmmakers with self delusions of thinking they are all film mavericks and geniuses.)
All in all, Estet is worth watching for its jokes and not for its story, cinematography, music or anything else for that matter. If you're a fan, please fan the fire of this film so Mamat Khalid can make more unintentional anti-climax films. If you're not a fan, you can just wait for its TV premiere on the second day of raya(?) next year.