HOMENews&Data > Resources > Human Rights Films/Video
Written and Directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman
Starring Shanti Das, Puja Mukerjee, Avijit Halder, Suchitra
This video, <Born into Brothels>, was released in 2006 and filmed in a documentary style. The director of this film, Zana Briski, spent her time with children in red-light district of Calcutta in India while shooting the film. She tried to observe their daily lives and put them into a film. She said that she is neither a teacher nor a volunteer but decided to live together with people living in red-light district to understand their lives deeply. The documentary shows that their lives in brothels are so miserable. I frowned while watching the film, because of unsanitary living condition, miserable lives in brothels and struggling people in there. But also I smiled to watch children with a pure heart. I think that’s the attractive point of this film. It shows that there is still hope for children living in there, as well as captures miserable reality.
The main plot of the documentary began with dividing cameras to the children in red light district. The director explained them how to deal with cameras, so they can capture where they live or the daily lives of people. The children who were given cameras for the first time got attracted to it and started to take pictures on their own style. Sometimes ridiculously, sometimes realistically, they showed their lives through cameras. The intention of the director would be that the children directly view their lives while taking the pictures through cameras and realize how their lives are. Along with that, she hoped to prove that cameras could be the excellent methods for education. That's why she had made them figure out their own films and choose what they would like to exhibit, which aroused interests of people around the world. The children were surprised with the fact that they can impress other people through picture they took. Its aim was to give children power through cameras. In addition, it encouraged children to dream the future and discover what they really want to do, as well as escape from their misery lives.
I was deeply impressed by the film. Even though I have interested in education for children, I usually thought that education has to be done in class to teach "something" and give particular knowledge to them. Children were changed and grown by even one camera in the film. The cameras which were given to the children were the methods of motivation for them to grow. Through this, I realized that education is everything which is not limited in form but provides foothold for children to grow. If they were provided the same education that other children had, they would not be changed. Even more, they would more resist and don't know the real taste of education. However, through cameras, they faced their lives and thought that they should change their lives, which was not forced by family or other people but begun with their own ideas. Through this documentary, I express respect to Briski who gave a hope to children and made people realize essentials of education. I hope every child get a quality of education without limitations.