Born Into Brothels is a documentary about the children living in the red-light district in Calcutta. Zana Briski lived in the red-light district on and off for several years, getting herself into a position to photograph some of the goings-on in the lives of the prostitutes. But the first thing that struck her, when she first arrived, was all the children. These children have few prospects for rising above their mothers’ stations, particularly the girls.
Briski decided to teach some of the children photography. As she got to know the children, she worked to get some of them out of the brothels and into boarding schools (to get them out of the red-light district altogether). But it was exceedingly difficult — most of the boarding schools would not take children whose parents were criminals. To help pay for the schooling, Briski helped to arrange an auction of the kids’ photographs.
The film is not nearly as depressing as I had expected it to be. Much of the film focuses on the children and their photography. What really struck me was that there were fathers in some of the children’s lives. Fathers. In the red-light district. They were useless, for the most part, but the fact that they were there at all surprised me.
Definately recommended. Also check out Kids with Cameras — the organizatio aimed at teaching kids around the world the art of photography.