A few months ago when I was homebound, I was perusing the free movie section on OnDemand and stumbled across this movie titled Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids. Initially it caught my attention because the movie obviously indicated it was about prostitution which I find rather fascinating. So I clicked view and was ecstatic to find out that the movie was a documentary about a documentary photographer [Zana Briski] who moves to the red light district of Calcutta, takes a group of children under her wing (all of their mothers are prostitutes) and provides them with cheap 35 mm disposable cameras to capture their colorful lives. Every so often the movie includes a slide show of the children’s work which is ABSOLUTELY breathtaking to the point where it made me teary eyed. Because it is Calcutta, the scenery is predominantly bright colors and the childrens snapshots are raw and honest.
The movie itself is also raw and honest. The viewers witness one of the star pupils lose his mother (in a brutal attack by her pimp) right when he is offered an amazing opportunity to travel abroad and of course, the timing couldn’t be worse. I believe it is a fantastic movie to watch as educators [and as documentary photographers] in order to make us more aware of situations that could pose as potential educational environments. Zana Briski had no idea that when she moved to Calcutta she would create an environment that would nuture child creativity. She initially moved there to document the prostitutes.
Here is a link to Zana’s Website http://www.zanabriski.com/
A link to the Kids with Camera foundation that includes the children’s magnificent work http://www.kids-with-cameras.org/kidsgallery/
and you click on particular kids and see their work as well as what they’re doing now http://www.kids-with-cameras.org/aboutthekids/
And amazingly I actually found the movie in its entirety on Google videos. What a treat!
If you haven’t already seen this movie then do yourself a favor and watch it!!