Born Into Brothels The viewer, being aware of what happens to abused children in the U.S. Or Europe, gives kind consideration to what might happen in time to these children.
What issues doe these children face?
First of all, even though the children in this film are living in what seems to be (and probably is) and environment of squalor, with prostitution as the main theme in their little communities, they do play and the do silly fun things like kids anywhere in the world. But on the other hand when the viewer sees what these children are up really against in this ghastly, horrific environment, it is heart-breaking.
When Shanti says she would like to get an education some day, her eyes reflect the eyes of every child in the world that is struggling in poverty and cultural neglect. At least the viewer gets the sense that there is hope in some of these little children's hearts.
"Even if I was poor I would have a happy life," a little girl explains, adding, "One has to accept life as being sad and painful." This is powerful and poignant, and the child is being philosophical in a cruel world that does not offer upward movement for her. The viewer sees children pouring water into buckets to clean (in a filthy environment) for the adult women in one scene, and then one of the adults says, "You selfish fucking bitch. You can't even fetch water properly." Another remark aimed at the little girl, "You worthless little cunt," is a vicious, outrageous way to speak to any child. What kind of role model to the mothers of these children provide? The question is answered by watching the film, but it is obvious that in the best of times, for the children, they have to be their own role models.
Clearly the world of prostitution in the slums of India is a dark place where mean-spirited things are done and said. The viewer is subjected to the painful scenes of children, whose mothers are stuck in a desperate world of prostitution, and on top of that, the children are verbally / psychological abused, which is as bad as physical abuse. Studies show that many children in the West -- who have been emotionally and psychologically abused during their childhood -- end up in prison, or involved with drugs, ...
How do these children manage the risks?
These children all know how to survive -- they have to know -- through the hard scrabble lives they lead. Viewers of this film know there are rats in this red light zone, there are narcotics (and drug addicts) and there is alcohol as well. So even though they are living in inhospitable conditions, there is a spark of hope in their eyes and in their lives.
When the mom is in the room earning her living by exchanging sexual favors for money, the children go up on the roof. When up on the roof, there at least is a sky above and some wind in order to fly kites; flying kites is something children do universally, so it is refreshing to know that they do know how to cope with a depressed living condition. Shanti especially love flying kites. And Kochi, very shy but sweet, seems interesting in breaking away from the abject poverty and learning about computers.
In other words, they are in a tough situation but they are children so they can dream of another kind of life, one they can only imagine.
Certainly the introduction of photography into the lives of poor, disadvantaged children whose mothers are in the sex trade business helps them manage the terribly dark and evil situations they are obliged to live in. The viewer of this film looks through Briski's lens at the children, and simultaneously the children are looking through lenses of the cameras that Briski has provided for them
The cameras and the images they see from their use of cameras offers a positive alternative to the misery these children experience vis-a-vis living in squalor. The filmmakers have offered these children a chance to understand what creativity is; the children show a sense of vibrancy and a desire to express their world to the rest of the world. And so "Born into Brothels" isn't just about poverty and prostitution in a Calcutta slum / red light district; it is also about the promise of youth in the worst of conditions.
What are the children's strengths?
The one obvious strength these children have is there youthfulness; children as a rule are resilient and full of energy, no matter where they are to be found. The problem they face -- beyond their immediate struggles -- is that in India there is a strict caste system. That means (for young people) just having some…
The viewer, being aware of what happens to abused children in the U.S. Or Europe, gives kind consideration to what might happen in time to these children.
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