This astonishing film tracks the odyssey of co-director Briski, a socially-conscious photographer who ventures into Calcutta's red-light district, and plucks out eight promising children, all born to prostitutes. Teaching them photography and eventually promoting their output, she imbues these kids with a sense of possibility they've never known before. Though few permanently escape their tragic lot, Briski's efforts provide them all with a brief window of light in the blackest of circumstances.
Both sobering and uplifting, Briski and Ross Kauffmann's documentary takes us inside the harsh, closed world of prostitution in Calcutta. Most often the children's parents are foul-mouthed and abusive, and India's caste structure minimizes the chances for these virtual orphans to advance in society. Nevertheless, Briski's attempt is still noble. We're humbled by the innocent spirit emanating from these special kids, most of whom still naively hope for a better life. As we see these dreams fade with the parents reclaiming their futures, we still admire the intent, and mourn the reality.