Born into Brothels

   13 November 2005, the wee hours

Born into Brothels is a depressing film—a very good depressing film. The movie is about the lives of a handful of children, the sons and daughters of prostitutes living in a red light district of Calcutta (Kolkata). They are taught photography by Zana Briski, who had been living in the area for two years to take photographs. She spends the bulk of the film trying to secure boarding school spots for the children, in the hopes this will provide them with a real future. The environment these children live in is pretty sad. One of the girls, who is only 14, is being pressured by her family to ‘enter the line’—you can guess what that is a euphemism for. That seems to be the future facing all the girls in the movie. The ending of the film struck me as particularly bleak. When I watch films like this I am reminded of how easy the life I lead is. Life is a lottery.

The Kids with Cameras web site.



  1. I wanted to watch it! :(

  2. It was good. I love the CBC. The show so many documentaries. I want to see Our Brand is Crisis (about American spin-doctors going to boliva to help a candidate win an election) and Bangkok Girl (about a bar-girl from Bangkok).

  3. I’m think I read somewhere that the translations used in Born Into Brothels were manipulated slightly to show the different groups (parents and children) in worse and better light respectively. so I don’t deny the parents were genuinely mean, as the anger in their voices was real As well, the children spoke with much sincerity, but they were given favourably ‘deep’ translations. The only reference I can find to this affect is a persons ‘feeling’ that this took place in the film, so I suppose I don’t have any real evidence.

  4. I’m not quite sure what language they speak in the film. I think they are speaking Hindi, in which case I am sure I know a couple people that could confirm one way or another how liberal the translations are. Nevertheless, it’s a very intense film.

  5. I only get the real CBC, not CBC Newsworld. :-(

  6. Life is a lottery, but your odds can be (and may have been) improved by the actions of your forebearers.

  7. Rishi, that is pretty much exactly why life is a lottery.

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