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Ze noemen me Baboe (They Call Me Babu)

The story of the Javanese Alima, in the forties a nanny (baboe) for a Dutch family. A story about complex colonial relationships.

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Deze voorstelling maakt deel uit van Rialto Filmclub met als gastspreker deze maand Ernst-Jan Pfauth.

Ze noemen me Baboe (They Call Me Babu)

In her first long documentary, director Sandra Beerends tells the story of Javanese Alima, using archive footage, sounds, music, and a narrative voice. Alima started working as a nanny (babu) for a Dutch family in the 1940s. During the Japanese occupation, the family ends up in a camp, which leads to Alima losing work and home. Meanwhile she has fallen in love with independence fighter Riboet and becomes pregnant with his child. After Riboet is killed during a military action, Alima goes against the wishes of her own family when she decides to raise the child alone in now-independent Indonesia.

The story of Alima symbolizes the stories of babus as professional nannies. It shows the complex colonial relationship in which they found themselves as "almost family". They were crucial to Dutch family life in the former Dutch East Indies, while never actually belonging to these same families, which often led to loyalty conflicts, especially in those turbulent times.

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