Bali, tourism, and exoticism

Elemental Productions’ upcoming film, Bitter Honey, is a really important movie for the Balinese because it gives a critique to their own culture and tradition. Tourism uses Balinese culture and tradition as a tool to invite tourists to come to Bali, and so it must be preserved. Since the Balinese depend on cultural tourism economically, culture ends up being neutral from criticism. Since tradition is “holy,” the Balinese must preserve it. From this movie I can learn that we do not only preserve the balinese dance, rituals, and gamelan. We also preserve the patriarchy culture. Woman suffer alot for the discourse of preservation.
From this movie I learned that the tourism infrastructures do not only include travel guide books, hotel advertisements and beautiful tourist facilities. I learned that patriarchy is another tourist infrastructures. I saw many ritual images throughout the film. It made me think that when women depend too much on God, it is a sign they are “alone in the world” because society and the State discriminate against them. Tourism benefits from this situation because the image of Bali as a ritual island supports the exoticism of Bali.
Gde Putra

Putra is from Bali and works as a research assistant in the social sciences. He is also a freelance writer and is is active in the Taman 65 community which focuses on spreading awareness about the 1965 mass-killing tragedy through art, movies, discussion and writing.

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