Photo Opportunity
Born into Brothels
Review by Ross Anthony

By the title, you may be expecting a film that explores the social and psychological circumstances of young prostitutes (teenage, etc.). But this is not the thrust of the documentary. Instead, photographer Zana Briski, while documenting women of India, begins to get emotionally attached to the children of her subjects that lived in the red light district of Calcutta. In fact, in this film, the children (10-14 years of age) are the subjects.

Though, sons and daughters of prositutes, mostly often living in poverty, in ridicule, in scorn, this documentary captures a child spirit that still shimmers with some resilience. Zana organizes a photography class for them, arms them each with a quick little camera. They wander off, shoot the world they know: a little brother crying, the family lounging, dirty dishes, a man in the street, a wall of textured material.

The filmmakers weave these photographs shot by the kids artfully, tactfully and movingly throughout the production. Actually, the photographs aren't just supplemental material -- they become the backbone of the story.

Eventually, Zana becomes so attached that she strives to enroll one bunch of kids into proper boarding schools as to save them from their almost certainly dark futures.

This picture is one of hope and compassion in a shady part of humanity unaccustomed to such things. It choked me up more than once.

This film screened at a Regency Theatre.

  • Born into Brothels. Copyright © 2005.
  • Directed by Zana Briski, Ross Kaufman.
  • Produced by Zana Briski, Ross Kaufman at Red Light Films.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:24 PDT