They Call me Babu is a film about native Indonesian girls working as nannies (pembantu) for colonial Dutch in a rapidly changing world in the 1940’s against the backdrop of the second world war and the struggle for independence in Indonesia.

The film is told from the perspective of Indonesian pembantu Alima and begins with her decision to flee from an arranged marriage to work as a pembantu for a Dutch family. Through all her new impressions and thoughts, she looks critically at colonial society and her own position. She survives the Indonesian liberation war and becomes an independent woman. The film is told through the use of archive footage.


Sandra Beerends


Pieter van Huijstee