The winner of the 77th annual Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 'Born Into Brothels' offers a tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art. The most stigmatized people in Calcutta's red light district are not the prostitutes, but their children. In the face of abject poverty, abuse, and despair, these kids have little possibility of escaping their mother's fate or for creating another type of life. Directors Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman chronicle the amazing transformation of the children they come to know in the red light district. Briski, a professional photographer, gives them lessons and cameras, igniting latent sparks of artistic genius that reside in these children who live in the most sordid and seemingly hopeless world. The photographs taken by the children are not merely examples of remarkable observation and talent; they reflect something much larger, morally encouraging, and even politically volatile: art as an immensely liberating and empowering force. Devoid of sentimentality, 'Born Into Brothels' defies the typical tear-stained tourist snapshot of the global underbelly. Briski spends years with these kids and becomes part of their lives. Their photographs are prisms into their souls, rather than anthropological curiosities or primitive imagery, and a true testimony of the power of the indelible creative spirit.
Moving and real
- Born Into Brothels review by Alina
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Photographer and director Zana Briski travels to Calcutta's red district and encounters the children who live in this squalor among drugs, prostitution and violence. Most of them are destined to end up working on the street as well. Fascinated by this woman taking pictures of them, the children are taught how to take photographs and are given a chance to have a different life through education. The film is inspiring and beautifully shot. It will bring many tears to your eyes and may inspire you to think that we can all make a difference.