Winner of audience prizes at festivals around the world, and long-listed for an Oscar, "5 Broken Cameras" is the story of Bil'in, a West Bank Palestinian village, whose inhabitants have long been mounting a resistance to the occupation and appropriation of their land for neighbouring Israeli settlements. It is told via the footage of local inhabitant Emad Burnat, who bought a camera to make home-movies about the growing years of his new-born son Gibreel, but soon started to document the daily acts of defiance against the provocations by the army, police and settlers. Over the course of several years his cameras are damaged, or even shot, but Emad, and Israeli film-maker Guy Davidi, have together shaped the hundreds of hours filmed into a compelling, stirring and moving document of the collective struggles that daringly meshes the personal essay with political cinema.
Unbalanced but moving
- 5 Broken Cameras review by JD
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You rated this film: 5
This is a film diary of the conflicts at the West Bank as seen from the Palestinian view. It is completely one sided but it is essentially an autobiography on film. It is very difficult not to feel deeply sympathetic and sincerely moved by the plight of the olive growing peasant farmers who spend their lives under the cosh of the Israeli police who injure many of his friends during their unarmed protests and eventually kill one. The footage is very inflammatory and it I find it impossible not to remember it with emotion.
A documentary that takes a personal and painful look into the world that has been shown to us many a time on world news 5 Broken Cameras is a documentary following Emad Burnet, a native of the Palestinian West Bank as he captures, over an extended period of time, the occupation of his home village and the surrounding area by the Israeli army and the subsequent peaceful resistance posed against it by the villagers.
Writing about a movie like this immensely difficult, trying confine into words the sheer magnetism and heart-break depicted in the 94 minutes allocated to 5 Broken Cameras is almost impossible. Even worse is sitting here as I type this and contemplating putting a star rating on a movie that left me feeling so hollow and ashamed to be a member of the human race that it makes the whole thing seem even more insignificant - what is my opinion when there are atrocities like this taking place in the world? The best that I can do is explain to you how this movie made me feel…
At first the horrors shown on screen have the same painful yet passing effect that the same atrocities depicted on the news do; you are shocked, sickened, saddened, and angry but your grief passes soon after. But not this time, there is no escaping them here, even after leaving the theatre the immense weight of what you have just witnessed is haunting. This is unlike any news story you have ever seen, 5 Broken Camera’s humanizes the plight of these villagers, not just tugging at your heart strings but tearing it out while it still beats, leaving your morals and personal problems whimpering insignificantly in your chest cavity.
The peaceful protests depicted on screen and the violent backlash from the Israeli armed forces manage, in one fell swoop, to show both the best and worst of man kind. Whilst the affect the conflict is having upon the children growing up within it is terrifying and incomprehensible; particularly the intimate look into the building resentment of Burnet’s own son.
This is one of the hardest, most upsetting movies I have ever seen, yet the resilience of the villagers resonates a kind of beautiful dignity and bravery the likes of which us in the West can hardly believe. This is a film that should be watched by everybody, but that I imagine very few will manage to sit all the way through; be prepared for violence, death and horrors that are more terrifying than any fictional nonsense Hollywood could ever produce.
You rated this film: 5
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