Born Into Brothels

Review Date - 2011-01-23

The most stigmatized people in Calcutta's red light district are not the prostitutes, but their children. In the face of abject poverty, abuse,and despair, these kids have little possibility of escaping their mother's fate or for creating another type of life.

In Born into Brothels, directors Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman chroniclethe amazing transformation of the children they come to know in the redlight district. Briski, a professional photographer, gives them lessons and cameras, igniting latent sparks of artistic genius that reside in these children who live in the most sordid and seemingly hopeless world.

The photographs taken by the children 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 prisms into their souls, rather than anthropological curiosities orprimitive imagery, and a true testimony of the power of the indelible creative spirit.

77th annual Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, Born into Brothels is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in thered light district of Calcutta, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer, gives each of the children a camera and teaches them to look at the world with new eyes.

The film, released by THINKFilm, premiered theatrically at the FilmForum in New York City in December 2004. It has since opened in over one hundred theatres nationwide. It premiered on HBO/Cinemax onTuesday, August 16th, 2005.

The film is now available on DVD.

The photographs taken by the children in Born into Brothels are available for purchase in the Kids' Gallery, and as a signed limited-edition portfolio, or as a compilation in our companion book. 100% of proceeds from sales of the children's prints go directly to support their education and well-being.