Saturday, September 11, 2010

Born into Brothels

Born into Brothels is a documentary about several children living in India whose mothers are prostitutes. A female photographer comes to the red light district in India to try to document the lives of the people there and ends up finding children she falls in love with. She gives them all camera's and teaches them photography and so they go out into the streets of the red light district and take pictures of everything around them. 

This documentary won the academy award for best documentary, and it brought light to the lives of the children in India who were suffering in silence. Most of the girls in the group were going to face a life on the streets as prostitutes much like their mothers, the boys would probably become pimps, drug dealers or drug addicts themselves. 

The photographer who is attempting to help them is an American woman by the name of Zana Briski, she has little money, no influence and desperately wants the children to succeed and get out of the district, she knows that an education at a good school is the only way they have any chance of succeeding. She tries very hard to find schools that will take them, but many will not because their parents are all criminals. So Zana uses the children's photography to raise money and awareness for their cause. Finally she finds schools for most of the children and they are sent off.

The most shocking part of this documentary is the end, only two of the children sent to the schools stay there. A few are brought back to the ghetto by their parents and some of them drop out and decide to go home. I was left slightly heart broken and disappointed when i saw this on screen. The documentary had focused heavily on the horrible lives of these children, the children themselves even said that they knew school was the only chance they had and were terrified of what would happen if they did not get out. They were treated horribly by their parents (mostly their mothers and even the other prostitutes that lived in the Brothel). They were called horrible names, they lived in their own filth and were surrounded by men that came and went into their mothers rooms. Most of the men who hired their mothers were drunk and angry and did not treat the children well, and those of the children who did have more than their mother in their life found that extended relatives were not helpful either.

This movie is beautiful, despite that it is well known that India has poor living conditions, i had never imagined that people were not proactive about changing their lives or looking for help. The worst part is that when help did come, many refused it.

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