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Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids – 2004

born into brothelsTHINKFilm, movie info at Kids-With-Cameras.org. Born into Brothels, by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, is the winner of the 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 the red 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. Carl’s Note: I loved watching this movie. I found it impossible not to smile as I felt like I got to know the kids who were the student filmmakers. Having spent time with kids from families in economic crisis, I could relate to the futility that Zana felt when other heartbreaking forces pulled the kids away from the opportunities they were presented with. It reminds me that even with dedicated, creative, loving, respectful people like Zana, helping children step out of poverty is not easy or guaranteed. The social patterns – internal and external – that got them there are complicated to reverse, and there are no easy answers. But I respect Zana’s willingness to try SOMETHING, and to maintain commitment to something hard. I dare you to watch this movie and not feel your heart tugged by the kids.