Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Born into Brothels

It isn’t what you might think. Born into Brothels is one of my recent watches on Netflix. It’s a documentary about the children of sex workers in Calcutta. Actually, the film has very, very little to do with sex at all. It’s much more about a photographer working to record the lives of women living in the red light district. She moves into the brothel so that she can truly get into the lives of her subjects, and while there discovers the lives of these beautiful children who happen to have the misfortune of being born into such a difficult place.

She decides to set up a photography class for the children and as she teaches them, and sees their world through their own eyes, she becomes more and more attached to them. Eventually, she makes it a personal mission to try to help rescue some of these children from a life with little hope for a future by getting them admitted to school. To pay the expenses, she manages to set up exhibitions of their photography in the U.S. etc.

In the end what struck me most is that despite so much hard work and so many good intentions, it just wasn’t so easy to help these children. We westerners often think we can fix everything with enough money, but it’s more complicated than that.

I was struck by how, in the end, many of the children that actually got the break of a lifetime weren’t able to take advantage of it because their parents wouldn’t allow it. It’s hard not to be judgmental about that – but I can’t be. I don’t live in the red light district of Calcutta so how could I understand? In a world where a family member is an extra and much needed income to eat the next day, it would be hard to think of the long-term benefit.

I thought it was a great documentary and enjoyed the children’s photography very much.

I will note, however, that there is a lot of strong language. What would you expect filming in a brothel? Also, for those who are legally blind, much of this film is sub-titled. I was able to read it okay watching on my computer, but something to take into consideration.

The subject matter isn’t really great for small kids.

I give it four out of five spoons.

No comments: