Mat Magic

  • 93'
  • Singapore
  • 1971

This is certainly the silliest film at IFFR 2021, and must rank among the weirdest treats the festival screened in its first half-century: a very popular comedy that leaves no cliché unused and delights in earthy and rustic humour. And yet, it is also a milestone in the development of Southeast Asian cinema due to the involvement of magician-actor John Calvert, which makes it Singapore’s first foray into the spheres of international filmmaking.

As usual in his films, Sentol plays a bumpkin in too deep. This time he promised to do a magic show for a young lady’s birthday party but can’t do the most basic sleights of hand. Luckily, he meets Calvert who then performs his signature acts. At the end, this mad concoction of farce and documentary goes all-out accidental avant-garde and becomes a lovely essay on cinema as a magic art itself. You have never seen anything like this!

Directors
Mat Sentol, John Calvert
Country of production
Singapore
Production Year
1971
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
93'
Medium
DCP
Language
Malay
Production Company
Cathay-Keris Film PTE. Ltd.
Sales
I.E. Entertainment Pte Ltd.
Screenplay
Mat Sentol
Production Design
Mat Sentol
Cast
Mat Sentol, John Calvert, Udo Omar