Director: Ross Kaufman, Zana BriskiBorn Into Brothels USA
British photographer Zana Briski ventured into Calcutta's red-light district on assignment and wound up working there for two years, appalled by the plight of the children of sex workers. The kids seemed trapped by their circumstances and destined to 'join the line', the euphemism their parents use for their induction into prostitution.
Briski rounded up a small class of children aged six to 10, gave them all point-and-shoot cameras and, after teaching them the basics, sent them out to document their lives. The results are astonishing. The childrens' photographs 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 glimpses into their souls rather than anthropological curiosities or primitive imagery, and a true testimony of the power of the indelible creative spirit. Born Into Brothels was an Audience Award winner at Sundance.
Please note: contains scenes that may offend some viewers
D/P Ross Kaufman, Zana Briski WS Amic Roney L English, Bengali w/English subtitles TD Video/Col/2004/84mins
Ross Kaufman's films: Born Into Brothels (MIFF 2004).
Zana Briski' s films: Born Into Brothels (MIFF 2004).