By the title, you may be expecting a film that explores the social and psychological circumstances of young prostitutes (teenage, etc.). But this is not the thrust of the documentary. Instead, photographer Zana Briski, while documenting women of India, begins to get emotionally attached to the children of her subjects that lived in the red light district of Calcutta. In fact, in this film, the children (10-14 years of age) are the subjects.
Though, sons and daughters of prositutes, mostly often living in poverty, in ridicule, in scorn, this documentary captures a child spirit that still shimmers with some resilience. Zana organizes a photography class for them, arms them each with a quick little camera. They wander off, shoot the world they know: a little brother crying, the family lounging, dirty dishes, a man in the street, a wall of textured material.
The filmmakers weave these photographs shot by the kids artfully, tactfully and movingly throughout the production. Actually, the photographs aren't just supplemental material -- they become the backbone of the story.
Eventually, Zana becomes so attached that she strives to enroll one bunch of kids into proper boarding schools as to save them from their almost certainly dark futures.
This picture is one of hope and compassion in a shady part of humanity unaccustomed to such things. It choked me up more than once.
This film screened at a Regency Theatre.