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Born Into Brothels [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Kochi , Avijit Halder , Zana Briski , Ross Kauffman    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das, Manik, Puja Mukerjee
  • Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
  • Writers: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
  • Producers: Andrew Herwitz, Ellen Peck, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Jannat Gargi, Lisa Cohen
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: Bengali, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Thinkflims
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Sep 2005
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A2XCBC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,748 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brutal perspective 9 Mar 2006
By Shell
I can only briefly comment on the actual documentary as I have not yet bought the DVD:
I had not expected to feel touched and mesmerised by this film, especially considering that before, I had been ignorant and felt indifferent towards India and its culture. Zana Briski, the brain behind the camera, accidently fell upon the harsh realities of children born into the red light district and, witnessing the enthusiasm of some of these children towards her camera, gave 10 children each a point-and-shoot camera.
The film documents the lives of the children, Briski's attempt to gain them school places and their photographs which, surprisingly, turn out to be poignant and attentive pieces of art.
These impoverished children, far from envoking just pity, have inspired and uplifted many audiences of this film. The ending notes, however, will sadden some of you who expect a 'technicolour-Hollywood' ending. Unfortunately, the socio-economic stigma of these children just doesn't seem to want to release itself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 10 Jan 2009
This film is incredible. Although it's a documentary, the style and beautiful cinematography at times feels like a 'normal' film. The footage is interspersed with amazing photography from both the director, and the children that were given the cameras. This film focuses on the kids growing up in Calcutta's red light district, and the problems they face growing up as 'illegal children'. Although this film is deeply sad, and the comments some of the children come out with heartbreaking, the film also tries to show the happiness that is brought into a few children's lives by being given a camera and an opportunity to learn. The film ultimately ends on a fairly low note, and you have to be prepared that this film is gritty and will stick with you. Definitely worth watching though.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
It is said that suffering develops character. Surely, when photographer Zana Briski went on a photography pilgrimage to the red light district in Sonagchi, Calcutta, in India, she discovered more character, and in smaller shape and size, then she might have imagined. Peering through a lens into the darkest shadows of life - into the world of prostitution - to capture the images the world wishes not to see, not, at least, from this angle of truth, she saw between the life-battered women... their children.

When we think of brothels, however we might think of them, how many think of children? Whether we think of these places and their inhabitants as figures of perversity, embodiments of lust, or the tragic painted clowns of the joke that is humanity, it is probably more true than not that these women are rarely seen as, well, women. They are perhaps at best merely meat, merely body parts, to be used and abused and then tossed aside. What Zana Briski's photo lens reveals is that these are indeed women, human beings, and, for better or for worse, also mothers, daughters, wives, sisters. We see in this montage of photos and film combined, women who are deformed by the ugliness inside. They are broken, they are stunningly and fiercely angry at the world that has so betrayed them, yet they also have their moments of hope and tenderness.

All of this, and more, falls upon the heads of their children. Weaving between these women are their little ones, boys and girls who grow up around the perversities of lust and abuse. What might such children be like? This is the sharp focus of Briski's lens.

Perhaps we need to look at ugliness to see beauty in contrast. The faces and spirits of these children contain both.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
An interesting documentary on the condition of children in the red district of Calcutta. Briski spent a lot of time there and obviously identifies with her subject, though unfortunately she is not always successful in achieving her aim of giving children of prostitutes a life out of the condition they are born in. Given the overall situation in Calcutta, these children are not at the bottom, and are generally well fed, but lack opportunities for education and personal achievement.

Briski has been accused of exploiting the children as objects in her documentary, but I think this is unfair: there is nothing wrong in filming your work if this raises awareness and helps with fund raising, which this film certainly did.

At the end of the film, one is left with mixed feelings: on the one hand, a few kids make it and through their photos achieve emancipation from the slums. On the other hand, many don't, either because their parents prevent them or because they can't make the fateful decision to leave home.
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