Born Into Brothels

By Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski
83 min., 2004

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 Calcutta’s red light district, where their mothers work as prostitutes. Spurred by the kids’ fascination with her camera, Zana Briski, a New York-based photographer living in the brothels and documenting life there, decides to teach them photography. As they begin to look at and record their world through new eyes, the kids, who society refused to recognize, awaken for the first time to their own talents and sense of worth. Filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski capture the way in which beauty can be found in even the seemingly bleakest and most hopeless of places, and how art and education can empower children to transform their lives.

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