Brutal lives still can be full of hope

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This is the fourth and last week attendees of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council Free Friday Film Series will look at foreign films that explore childhood.

The series will conclude with the most brutal of the four films as it examines the life of children born to prostitutes in Calcutta. "Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids" came out in 2004 and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

¤ Steamboat Springs Arts Council Free Friday Film Series: "Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids"

¤ 7 p.m. today

¤ Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

¤ Free

"Of the films we've seen (in this series), this one is the most honest and, in some cases, brutal look at what life can be for some children," series organizer Dori Weiss said. "There aren't many American films willing to be so honest.

"'Born into Brothels' exposes a way of life that many people may find shocking, but there is also a message of hope, and that's why I wanted to end with it."

In the film, director Zana Briski gives cameras to several children she encounters and has them examine their world through the lens. While they photograph the poverty and depravity they live in, Briski films their stories.

"This film shows that with perseverance, one person can change the status quo," Weiss said.

Because the film didn't come to theaters in Steamboat Springs, Weiss didn't see the film until it came out on DVD.

"Among my reactions, I really wanted my own children to see this film," Weiss said. "As tough as it is, it's important for them to see the world beyond their own experience."

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