REALITY (RE-)VISITED: CHILDREN OF PROSTITUTES IN BORN INTO BROTHELS

Touhid A. Chowdhury

Abstract


The human quest for securing, recording, and preserving memories of reality lead to the invention of motion pictures, which then gave birth to documentary films. Documentary filmmaking has radically evolved in recent years. Capturing reality come into scrutiny as more and more technological development allows the documentary filmmakers to design and articulate reality more subjectively than ever before. Born Into Brothels is a film about real people from the red light districts of Calcutta. Poverty and disease are two common phenomena of the people who live in Sonagachi, Calcutta’s red-light district. Another name of the documentary, Calcutta’s Red Light Kids, skillfully turns audience’s focus on the children of the brothels from Calcutta, which in a way, establishes that this film is about kids and not prostitution. The fact that Born Into Brothels is about children of prostitutes and not about prostitution makes it an intriguing example in analyzing the presented “reality” as well as the filmmakers’ perspectives. This article intends to investigate specific filmic and editorial techniques that documentary filmmakers use in articulating the inevitable reality of society. This article argues that Born Into Brothels tries to invoke humanitarian awareness among the audience and in a broader sense into society.

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Keywords


documentary, reality, brothels, children, Calcutta

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References


Barnouw, Erik (1993). Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. Oxford University Press.

Briski, Zana and Ross Kaufman (2004). Director. Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids. Red Light Films.

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Nichols, Bill (1991). Representing Reality. Indiana UP.

Nichols, Bill (2001/2010a). “How Can We Define Documentary Film?” In: Bill Nichols, ed. Introduction to Documentary. 2nd Edition. Indiana University Press. 1-41.

Nichols, Bill (2001/2010b). “How Can We Differentiate Among Documentaries?: Categories, Models, and the Expository and Poetic Modes of Documentary Film” In: Bill Nichols, ed. Introduction to Documentary. 2nd Edition. Indiana University Press. 142-171.

Monaco, James (1981). Rev. ed. How To Read A Film. Oxford University Press.

Wells, Paul (1996/2003). “The documentary form: personal and social realities.” In: Jill Nelmes, ed. An Introduction to Film Studies. 3rd Edition. Routledge.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejls.v2i2.231

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