Interviews and reviews
Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future
D: Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope
Bata-ville takes us on a long, yolk-colored coach trip on a historical journey through the rolling pastures of two forgotten counties in England all the way to the Moravian town of Zlín in the Czech Republic. The subject of the film is Bata, a shoemaking company founded in Zlín by Tomas Bata in 1894. Directors Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope take former Bata employees from factories in Maryport (Cumbria) and East Tilbury (Essex) on a free holiday to Zlín to reminisce about the empire's influence on Britain in the 21st century.
Rather than serve as documenting observers, Guthrie and Pope gab on in high-pitched voices, asking insignificant questions of their passengers, the most frequent being "Are you afraid of the future?" Despite the promise of being quirky characters, the passengers merely provide anecdotes as bland as the art depicted throughout the film. Bata-ville is a strange homage to a mystified, iconic Bata, but offers little insight into the empire's true story other than the overused, overdramatized slogan "We are not afraid of the future."