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Admist the apparent growing prosperity of India, there is a dark underbelly of poverty of another side of the nation that is little known. This film is a chronicle of filmmakers Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's efforts to show that world of Calcutta's red light district. To do that, they inspired a special group of children of the prostitutes of the area to photograph the most reluctant subjects of it. As the kids excel in their new found art, the filmmakers struggle to help them have a chance for a better life away from the miserable poverty that threatens to crush their dreams. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
The film makers of this documentary take the viewer into areas that would have been off limits to anyone wanting to explore the life of the children of some Calcutta prostitutes. About ten children are showcased in the film as one of the directors of the documentary, Zana Briski, involves the children in something positive as she teaches them how to use the camera in capturing the world around them.
In gaining the children's confidence, they, in turn, tell us about how they see life in that hostile environment. Most of the girls shown in the film would probably end up in the same situation their mothers went through, as it appears life for them is a vicious circle in which there is no escape. For the boys, in spite of the natural talent shown as they take pictures, the mean streets of Calcutta don't promise much either.
As a documentary, Ms. Briski and Mr. Kauffman, show us how they were able to give the children a different way to look at life, but one wonders what has happened after they finished their work. Are these young girls and boys better off because this experience, or did they go back to the only way of life they knew about?
"Born into Brothels" is a sad commentary on our society at large, because where there is poverty, as it's the case in Calcutta, women will resort into the kind of life where they can get by without any education or skills. These women are actually the victims of a system that penalizes them for just being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Let's hope Ms. Briski and Mr. Kaufamn were able to instill in these young girls and boys the idea of looking for something better in their lives if they escape the poor surroundings in which they were born into.
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