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B.A.T.A.M: An Ethnographic Film Produced By Johan Lindquist

1350 words - 6 pages

“B.A.T.A.M” is an ethnographic film produced by Johan Lindquist. It presents stories of two women who live on the Indonesian island of Batam. Wati, one of the major participants of the interview is a young female factory worker. Another major participant, Dewi, who came from Java and used to work in an electronic factory, is currently working as a prostitute. The film primarily shows how the “multinational capitalism and migration interact in the shadowlands of globalization”. In my analysis, I will mainly dress on the critique of the film in terms of both the quality and the ethical aspects of the film as an ethnographical film.

An ethnographic study aims to explore and analyze a ...view middle of the document...

This can help research gain trust from the participants and make it easier to observe people in a more natural and relaxed way. Wati shows her trust towards the researcher by taking off her veil while talking to the researcher. As the film mentioned previously, Wati always wears the veil when she stays outside the village because it makes her feel safe and protected; only when she comes back to her village will her take of the veil. This clearly illustrates the intimate relationship between the researcher and Wati.

Usually ethnographic research takes a good amount of time engaging in the real lives of the studied society with the aim to become normalized and establish intimate relationship with the people. However, during this process, researchers need to avoid immersing too much into the society so that they can maintain a safe distance from the studied society and objectively evaluate and judge the issues of the studied group from a completely outsider’s perspective of view so as to arrive at objective outcomes and avoid subjectivity. (Hammersley, 1983, p228)

As a professional ethnographer, researcher in B.A.T.A.M has taken several ethical considerations and obligations into account. Participants in the film are well informed that they are interviewed and recorded by the camera. During the interview part with Wati and Dewi, filming technique such as close-ups were used to produce an emphasis on the character, making audiences immerse in the storytelling. From Wati and Dewi’s facial expressions we may conclude that they are feeling relaxed and comfortable with the interview. I believe that the researcher’s respect towards the participants allow them to confidently engaging in the interview and to openly share their perspectives and stories with audiences. The ethnographer also attempts to ensure confidentiality during the interview process. For instance, researcher offers protection for Dewi by allowing her to wear a sunglass during the interview. (Yoshimizu, 2014).

From my perspective, camera recording can be “biased interpretations”. This is because an ethnographic film, due to the limited film length or the aspect of reality it chose to depict, only reflects a partial aspect or instance of the “reality” or the social practices of that particular group of people. Also, different ethnographers have various perspectives and personal understandings about the “reality” they choose to capture, therefore, their preexisting schemas or intentional attitudes will directly affect their way of framing the film as well as the particular aspect they may choose to emphasize and explore. In this respect, this form of interpretation of the culture is very much based on the ethnographer’s chosen way of description and explanation of the reality. In this regard, audiences are standing on their perspective ways of looking at the social practices, which is obviously biased. Therefore, film itself is simply a visual illustration, a medium of presenting, of...

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