Born Into Brothels (2005 Accademy Award)

Amidst 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.
Briski, a documentary photographer, went to Kolkata to photograph prostitutes. While there, she befriended their children and offered to teach the children photography to reciprocate being allowed to photograph their mothers. The children were given cameras so they could learn photography and possibly improve their lives. Much of their work was used in the film, and the filmmakers recorded the classes as well as daily life in the red light district.

The red light district has existed for centuries and will exist for centuries more, but now we know the tortured lives of children in the shadows of Calcutta. The fate of the children is not resolved, but their dreams resonate in our world and lives.
The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee has criticized Briski for using hidden camera work to incorrectly present the children's parents as uncaring, for ignoring the prostitutes' substantial efforts to unite, and for harming the global movement for sex worker rights and dignity.
You can buy Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids.

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