Friday, November 11, 2005

Born Into Brothels

This is a belated review, written a few months back. In need of an update --and to promote a great movie-- I thought I'd put it here.

Born Into Brothels is a documentary about the children of Prostitutes in the red-light district in Calcutta, India. The story revolves around 8 different children (about 11-14 in age), all of whom are children of prostitutes, some of whom are very close to becoming prostitutes themselves. Each of them are given a camera to take pictures of what they see around the red-light district they live in. At the same time, we see the home-lives of the children, all of whom seem to enjoy the escapism their class on picture-taking gives them. At the same time, one of the directors attempts to get them into boarding schools where they can be educated and hopefully move out of the brothels that their mothers and grandmothers have lived in --- with mixed results.

In general, the movie does its best not to force its emotionalism, but rather gives a glimpse into a world where seeing your mother get paid for sex is an everyday fact. For some of these children (notably the girls), this is their lot in life, despite many of their dreams to gather family and escape from it all. Hopelessness abounds, even if the children have learned to compartmentalize it.

Tying this to a "spiritual" aspect, it always amuses me that Jesus got along with prostitutes so well. From far away, it's easy to condemn them -- so much of what seems to be wrong with human behaviour is personified in Prostitution. Greed. Power. Money. Lust - All things that we can't stand to see in other people. Yet at the same time, when seen up close, we see girls given no other options in life. We see women beaten and paid unfairly, living in terrible conditions. And, as in this movie, we see the children of those encounters. It's not pretty, and it's not something you'd want to tell everyone wanting to know your profession. The amount of guilt that has to go along with that life has to be unbearable at times, which would explain why women would come crying to Jesus. He even went so far as to say that prostitutes would enter His' Kingdom well before those who strived to keep the law.


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