Sorry I didn't post last night. I watched the movie pretty late and was too tired to consider blogging about it.
The documentary I picked was Born Into Brothels. I've wanted to watch this documentary for a while now and I'm very glad I did.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Born Into Brothels, a British photographer named Zana Briski went to Calcutta, India to photograph the prostitutes in the Red Light District. While there, she fell in love with the children of prostitutes and began teaching them photography to see this world from their eyes. She gave each child a camera and the photographs from the children are both stunning and haunting. Briski tries to help these children get proper education since many schools will not accept children of prostitutes. She raises money for the kids by selling their photographs and succeeds in helping a couple of the children get better education. Throughout the film, you hear about life in the Red Light District from the children who live there and see how Briski's (and the camera's) positive influence changes the children.
I thought this was a really insightful movie. You get to know these children really well because, as kids, they are extremely candid with their thoughts about their lives in the brothels. Born Into Brothels won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary, although there have also been a lot of negative reviews of this movie. Several critics say this was a "self-congratulatory piece created to show the filmmakers' deeds" and there are claims that it left the children worse off than they were before the film was made. The interpreter of the film said that "the children's despair has exacerbated because they'd hoped that with active involvement in Ms Briski's camera project, there would be an opportunity for them to live a better life" and for some of the children, that simply was not possible. Regardless of the negative press, I think it's a very important film to see. It shows how amazing children are and how, with the right tools, they can do something incredible. You see how powerful, and important, art can be. Instead of focusing only on the terrible acts that happen in these brothels, much of the focus shifts to the innocence and hope that these children have for their lives. Hopefully, by exposing this side of the brothels in India, something can be done to help the people living in them.
Have any of you seen Born Into Brothels? I'm curious about your response to this film. Please let me know what you thought about it and your response to the negative criticism.