Ways of Seeing

Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman’s Oscar-winning documentary, Born into Brothels (IMDB), will be playing this week in Atlanta and I’m hoping to catch it this weekend. The film focuses on Briski’s efforts to empower the children of several Calcutta prostitutes by providing them with camers as a way of giving children a greater sense of control over their world. Briski has since raised money for the children by selling their photographs, and Briski’s “Kids with Cameras” project has expanded into Cairo, Haiti, and Jerusalem. I’ll admit that I have some reservations about Briski’s project even before I see the film, specifically the potential that the film might be more about the filmmaker’s journey rather than the children she is trying to help, as Seema Sirohi observes. Sirohi’s article also notes many of the other controversies that the film has raised, including the fact that Briski has stated that she will not screen Born into Brothels in India. Others have claimed that the children’s condition has actually worsened due to Briski’s film, but that’s under fairly heated debate. If anyone has seen this film, I’d be curious to know your reactions to it (links via mind the __GAP*?).

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