Documentary is the creative interpretation of reality according to British film maker John Grierson. Reality in its natural form is too complex to be re-created and therefore documentaries offer a particular version of reality. The creators own personal values, attitudes and judgments influence this reconstructed form of reality and use symbolic, written, technical and audio codes to help persuade it's audience to accept their version. This occurred in the documentary Born into Brothels' directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman.
Born into Brothels documents the lives of eight local children for a on and off period of two years. Zana Briski initially went to India to photograph the prostitutes but when meeting their children came to feel that the children might be saved or given hope by giving them cameras and teaching them to capture their surroundings. One of the children, Gour, spoke about photography, "I want to show in my pictures how people live in this city. I want to put across the behavior of man." The photograph's of the children's lives from their point of view were extremely successful, being sold by Ms. Briski to fund their education.
Throughout the documentary Born into Brothels' the viewer is able to understand the difficulties in making their own lives better than their ancestors, even with outside help. This event can be explained with reference to the saying "a leopard cannot change it's spots" however, within the documentary more than one generation is concerned and it is not impossible, just significantly harder.
The main relationship between the two statements can be described using specific examples from the documentary. The photos these children took were sold to the public with the aim of using the profits to pay for their education. For any poverty stricken family one of the main reasons that children are unable to attend school is because they don't have enough money to send them to school. The children in the documentary had the money to go to school, yet when enquiring about acceptance into various boarding schools were rejected as they would not accept the children of sex workers. This is one example of a child not being able to make their lives better than their parents, they are at a disadvantage from the beginning just because they are a child of a prostitute.
Whilst remembering a documentary seeks to convince the audience of the "truth of their interpretation of events and issues", it is a given that documentaries must be specifically constructed in order to persuade viewers. Some techniques employed in "Born into Brothels" include the approach to the issue, the sex workers and also the families are portrayed as victims when some may consider them filth. A scene was included in the documentary regarding one child's mother being killed in a so called fire by a client of hers, it was then indicated that the lack of police investigation or protection was due to their line of work and the area they live in. This helps influence the audience into believing these people are victims as basic protection was not even provided for them.
Close-ups are often used to establish empathy between the audience and a character, this is because it is so intimate; the shots allow the audience's attention to focus on certain facial expressions and detail. Throughout the documentary Born into Brothels' the audiences attention is frequently directed to a close-up of the children's reaction to their surroundings. Sometime it is blank, other times it is, to an extent sad. At other times the cameraman is extremely lucky to capture the delight of the children when they experience something new, something exciting, even something that provides hope. The children went on an excursion to the beach; the camera was able to capture their reactions as none of them had seen the beach before. The shots were successful in persuading viewers to reflect the emotions these children showed. At times the children...
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