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Mostly Sunny (2016)
Poverty porn
8 May 2017
Mostly Sunny abounds in poverty porn. I have no problem with showing Indian poverty if it makes sense for the script. Is this a social or economic documentary about Indian class differences? About Indian capitalism? No? Then why is the documentary peppered with poverty shots?

Is it to contrast Sunny's fortune with the country's unfortunate? Then, would a documentary about a rich Hollywood actor be filled with gratuitous shots of homeless white people or the white working class in the country?

It is almost a tourism of poverty. The camera watches poor people like they're in a zoo, on display for the director's viewing pleasure.

If a biographical documentary about Sunny Leone has to extend to economic inequality in India, show the rich and the poor people and areas equally. Provide context. Don't rely on racist stereotypes to fill in for your laziness. Do justice to the story of the individuals you're filming. Don't treat them like props you can sample as you choose.

Possibly the most jarring part was prostitutes on the street hurriedly covering their face as the camera films them. One of them yells her objection. This isn't about the freedom of documenting the truth. This is about filming vulnerable sections of society because as a middle class person, you can. This about exposing a shamed section of society to further shame, a targeted section of society to possibly further violence.
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