“Wei” is a beautiful short film written and directed by Samuel Rustandi that has been nominated and won several accolades from a number of film festivals.
Mei (Dayu Wijanto) is a Chinese-Indonesian woman who converted to Islam and thus alienating herself from her father (Hengky Solaiman). Her father runs a restaurant with his delicately prepared dishes as the main attraction. During the festival season of Ramadhan, Mei brings food every day to the restaurant to her father to make peace with him. However, he doesn’t eat the food she brings and continues his days as a ritual starting with working on food for the restaurant and ending with the memory of his late wife. However, as he is no longer strong enough to run the restaurant, memories and realizations together form a middle ground.
The yearning for love from your family, despite the differences and choices made, is the core of the film. Food in its various forms and rituals are essentially a huge part of this love. Rustandi definitely understands how important food is in our lives and uses it to show a bond that is not easily breakable, even if the people involved make mistakes in keeping it. “Wei”, shows how love can be felt, even when you don’t allow each other to express it. Even when there are factors that you can’t accept, there is the human connection that is hard to break.
The cinematography by Ella Putri Maning has to be commended as much as the direction should be. The beauty and emotions that are conveyed through the shots make up for the moments that get a little out of hand. However, Rustandi is a director I would be very interested to see making feature films that can be even better experienced than this wonderful short film “Wei”.