Born into Brothels
Born Into Brothels is a documentary about the inspiring non-profit foundation Kids With Cameras, which teaches photography skills to children in marginalized communities. In 1998, New York-based photographer Zana Briski started photographing prostitutes in the red-light district of Calcutta. She eventually developed a relationship with their children, who were fascinated by her equipment.
After several years of learning in workshops with Briski, the kids created their own photographs with point-and-shoot 35 mm cameras. Their images capture the intimacy and color of everyday life in the overpopulated sections of Calcutta. Proceeds from the sale of the children’s photographs go to fund their future education. Directed by Briski and filmmaker Ross Kauffman, Born Into Brothels was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the documentary competition.
The photography is splendid, rich in color and subject matter, and the video camera following Briski through the squalid red light district, pausing to hear abusive mothers and drugged fathers deny their children passage into a better life, hearing the wisdom of the elders who desire something more for these children, captures a world few know. Devoted as Briski and Kauffman are to their dream, they remain realistic and document an element of life in a third world country that is illuminating. This is a touching film without being maudlin, beautiful without ignoring reality. In English and with subtitles for the children’s commentary.