BORN INTO BROTHELS (Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman) Rating: NNNN
Despite its grim title, Born Into Brothels is a moving and affirming film about the power of art to transform lives. Photojournalist Briski teaches eight eager children in a Calcutta red-light district to use cameras, and soon they begin to see the world around them - and, by extension, their own lives - with new eyes. This isn't some short-term band-aid solution to assuage liberal Western guilt. Over the course of two years, the filmmakers empower the kids with self-confidence and try to get them into schools where they'll have some shot at a future. The journey, which includes frustrating encounters with bumbling bureaucrats and increasing worldwide awareness of the children's art, is riveting.