To set it straight, Born into Brothels will make you feel guilty if you're expecting dirty distraction. Kauffman and Briski's vision of a red light district raises hairs because it originates in young eyes.

Photographs taken by prostitutes' children frame our picture of Sonagachi, Calcutta. Their stories of being pushed into prostitution by poverty and disgrace are so honest and clever that you will cry and feel alone.

However, unlike most documentaries, Brothels does not cause the usual brain-congestion -- the movie has energy. And though interludes of Scott Joplin's "Entertainer" seem as appropriate as intervals of Michael Jackson's "Bad" at a funeral, the lighthearted respite is necessary amongst scenes of vivid despair.

The movie realistically and thoroughly portrays both the children and Calcutta, but then dwindles to a close fairly quickly. The thin narrative (it is a documentary) is somewhat disappointing, given our narrator's intriguing effort to settle the children in school and our natural desire to follow the rest of their lives. I would recommend Brothels for interest and refreshment, not giggles or plotlines -- and not date material -- unless you do not want to touch your date.


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