If you are ever stuck for inspiration, feeling low and generally think “Life isn’t faiiir – Wahhh” (in the whingiest voice ever) then this documentary is for you.
I mean we’ve all been there, right? You’re feeling T-E-R-R-A-BAD.. and you know nothing is going to cheer you up. But my friends this is not the case. This documentary is the most inspiring and impressive I have seen to this day. It got me out of the biggest funk of my year.
So the premise?
An American photographer, Zana Briski, arrives in Calcutta and has stayed there for many years on-and-off in order to photograph the living situations of the prostitutes. However both the women and the men (mainly pimps and crooks themselves) are distrusting and reluctant to have anything to do with her. The kids however love her! Fascinated by her camera and left to fend for themselves to various degrees in a place that is nefarious, illegal and with no hope of leaving it. The Briski starts a class for the children with a little help. She issues them with cameras and helps them understand the fundamentals and in doing so both her and the rest of the world are shown a visual window into the district, it’s inhabitants and the adversity of innocence in such a place.
Interestingly about this documentary, the makers hardly ever resort to a preaching tone or use footage that may horrify or detract from the overall theme, which is all about the children finding their way out of the mire through photographs and funding and creating their own education.
The bright colours, messy street-life scenes and exotic sounds is what I would expect from a documentary set in India but somehow this documentary transcends time and place in my heart.
So if you are ever stuck feeling low and can’t even think of picking up a camera or going out then watch this! You won’t regret it.