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B.A.T.A.M. tells the contrasting stories of two women: Wati, a young factory worker, and Dewi, a prostitute, both of whom live through a dramatic transformation on the Indonesian island of Batam, located on Singapore's doorstep. In this free-trade zone, an official economy based in the factories, and an unofficial economy of prostitution, have developed together, increasing Batam's population from 3,000 to 700,000. As the two divergent economies depend on female labor, the experiences of these two women illuminate the ways in which multinational capitalism and migration interact in the shadowlands of globalization.
"There is no doubt in my mind that this particular film would stand out as an exceptional addition to any ethnographic film catalog and, more pointedly, to the collection of liberal arts colleges. ...I am confident that the film would be utilized in a wide range of courses in Anthropology, and other disciplines, and is germane to such diverse and important scholarly topics as the study of globalization, development, transnationalism, Economic Anthropology, Political Anthropology, and as I have used it, in courses explicitly concerned with cross-cultural study of gender and ethnographic film." — Matthew Amster, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Gettysburg College
"In the context of much academic and media discussion about globalization and its effects, particularly on women, B.A.T.A.M. provides a moving and richly contextualized account of the daily predicaments and opportunities that its central characters face as they pursue visions of modern life that are attractive, but also dangerous. For students, the film provides an invaluable concrete example that challenges their assumptions of factory workers or prostitutes as simply oppressed. They see that these particular women have chosen their jobs, even as those decisions have caught them up in negative consequences, such as the loss of opportunities for education or the inability to return home because of the shame attached to sex work. The result is a more complicated and nuanced sense of the connections between globalization, women's labor, and gender ideologies in Southeast Asia." — Ann Marie Leshkowich, PhD, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross
"B.A.T.A.M. is a rare film. It combines intellectual critique and artistic representation seamlessly. Through seeing and hearing the perspectives of people making and living globalization, the film gives audiences the images and information to think about gender, culture and globalization in new ways. .... B.A.T.A.M.'s strengths lie in the way those lives are depicted are given the space to speak about their worlds. In this way, the film refuses easy readings, and respects both its participants and its audience. Such an approach makes for stimulating classroom discussions and provokes complex readings from students. In an era when sensitive attention to inequality requires rejecting simple readings about victimization, teaching resources that can achieve this goal are invaluable. I enthusiastically recommend this film for scholars and instructors of gender, Southeast Asian area studies and globalization." — Carla Jones, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado - Boulder
A book about gender, globalization and anthropology, The Anxieties of Mobility: Migration and Tourism in the Indonesian Borderlands, is now available from University of Hawaii Press.
Please visit the filmmaker's website, www.liamdalzell.com.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Nordic Anthropological Film Association Ethnographic Film Festival, 2005
UNIFEM Singapore, 2005
Award of Excellence, Society for Visual Anthropology, American Anthropological Association Conference, Washington DC, 2005 Association for Asian Studies Conference, San Francisco, 2006
Festival of Visual Culture, Finland, 2006
Migrant Worker Film Festival, Seoul, Korea, 2008
East Asia Migration and Co-Existence Film Festival, Kumamoto, Japan, 2009
Sinema: International Social Action Film Festival, Singapore, 2009