Must-See DVD

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 4:08 pm

If you have not yet seen it, I highly recommend renting (even buying) a copy of the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels. Photographer Zana Brisky spent a few years living among and photographing the prostitutes of Calcutta. She gradually became interested in the children of these families. She purchased cameras for a group of them and taught them the basics of photography. Under her tutelage, the kids blossom into truly accomlished photographers, and Brisky endeavors to help them take advantage of their newfound talent and opportunities to better their situation, within the confines of an ancient and rigidly structured society.

The story is told from the perspective of both the children and Brisky herself, and consists of videotaped interviews and cinema verite-style documentation of their lives. Interspersed throughout are samples of the children’s photography, much of which is astoundingly good.

On it’s face, the film sounds far more depressing than it actually is. The daily poverty, misfortune and privation are offset by the natural delight of children partaking of what life has to offer them. To be sure, you can’t help but feel badly for these kids, but the overall effect of the story is more uplifting than a downer. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…..it’s trite because it’s true.

Born Into Brothels is available now through NetFlix, and should be available September 20th everywhere else. I give it Eleven Thumbs Up.

All portions of this site are © Andrew Lenzer, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.