In Udine Two years ago and thanks to Identitas, the audience discovered the idiosyncratic talent of Aria Kusumadewa, one of the most interesting and unusual directors of contemporary Indonesian cinema. In that drama having the colors of a grotesque comedy, the director thought about the social and existential condition of those who are so poor or marginalized, also for ethnical reasons, that they do not even have an identity. Merging again different genres and mixing the serious and the humorous, Aria Kusumadewa makes a comeback at the FEFF thanks to the most trenchant political satire performed in Indonesia in the last years; it is both explosive and coarse because it literally focuses as per its title, on the wait of a fart.
Kentut begins with the funny but completely plausible and almost realistic news of an electoral clash among the candidates for the rural district of Kuncup Mekar. The second round clash witnesses the contrast between the favorite couple formed by Patiwa and Ki Orka facing the unsophisticated Jasmera e Delarosa. Patiwa, a candidate of middle-class origin, has polite manners and realistic programs, aims at the development of the territory and local income thanks to incentives for rural production. On the other hand, the outgoing and relentless Jasmera bases his campaign on an excessive populism which invites to “first take the advantage, and then think of the consequences” and, in the name of a frontal attack to hypocrisy, envisages the legalization of gambling and prostitution so that the income linked to such activities can be shared by the community. Delarosa, his side-kick is a popular dangdut singer (the Indonesian folk) and this ensures the votes of her fans and transforms the meetings of Jasmera into singing and dancing convivial shows.
After a heated TV face-to-face, Patiwa falls victim of an attack; she has a wound in her shoulder, but she is immediately brought to hospital. The bullet is excised, but doctors are waiting for her farts to consider her well again and fit to continue the electoral campaign.
From this time onwards, Kentut takes the most unexpected turns. What was outlined as a consistent political satire now splits into the fragments of an untidy, though exuberant and thriving, contradictory mosaic which seems to return -as far as possible- a composite image of the different aspects of community living in Indonesia. Again, Aria Kusumadewa (who wittily portrays himself as a little monkey called Aria, being the witness of the events) introduces the audience in the world of hospitals through a detailed single take as happened in Identitas. All this reminds us of the serious denunciation of carelessness and corruption of health institutions in the movie; however, we also witness an obvious farce of the role which several religions of the country have in the social fabric as well as in politics. As occurred in Identitas, Aria Kusumadewa does not forget to give space to a series of portraits of ordinary people, always swinging between drama and comedy.
Another difficult portrait of a messy, difficult and tormented country -though full of dynamism and humanity- emerges from this eventful labyrinth of situations, registers and characters.
Passionate and original poet of contemporary Indonesia, in Kentut Aria has a lot of fun when he uses his producer and partner Deddy Mizwar in a witty counter-casting. So beloved in his country thanks to his parts as an everyday hero, defender of traditional values and producer of movies rich in sound moral and religious values, Deddy Mizwar unforgettably overacts in the wholly not mono-dimensional role of the kindly satanic Jasmera. A shifty character who is the symbol of a movie which is not easy to classify and which cannot leave the audience unmoved.