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They Call Me Babu
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They Call Me Babu
IDFA 2019

They Call Me Babu

Ze noemen me Baboe
Sandra Beerends
Netherlands
2019
78 min
World Premiere
Festival history

Alima worked for a Dutch family as their babu—nanny—in the former Dutch East Indies. In voice-over, we hear the story of how she came to the family to care for their baby and accompanied them for a short stay in the Netherlands. Upon her return, she lived through Japanese occupation (during which the Dutch family was put in internment camps) and the battle for Indonesia’s independence. Throughout these years, Alima never let go of her dedication to the child, but at the same time remained loyal to her lover Riboet, an independence fighter.

Told from Alima’s perspective, the film is more than an account of changing relationships in Indonesia: first and foremost it’s about Alima’s development as an individual, breaking free of social restrictions to become an independent woman. Using unique, never-before-seen images from various archives in the Netherlands and Japan, it tells a universal story about the empowerment of women. 

Credits
Director
Production
    Pieter van Huystee for Pieter van Huystee Film
    Pieter van Huystee for Pieter van Huystee Film
Narrator
    Denise Aznam
    Denise Aznam
Involved TV Channel
    NTR
    NTR
Screening copy
    Pieter van Huystee Film
    Pieter van Huystee Film
Distribution for the Netherlands
    Mokum Filmdistributie
    Mokum Filmdistributie

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