5 Broken Cameras


Like this program? Become a Member and show your support!

Acclaimed, engrossing and out of the ordinary, the film 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a work of both cinematic and political activism. Compared to THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, it is a film that has the power and intimacy to bring the daily realities of the Israeli Occupation to broad attention.

A Palestinian farmer who lives with his family in the village of Bil'in, director/protagonist Emad Burnat gets his first videocamera with the birth of his son in 2005. He shoots the boy's initial steps, but also ventures out to document Israel's building of the separation wall, which almost overnight divides residents from their farmland. Burnat's footage gives a direct experience of what it's like to be on the receiving end of dispossession. As the Israeli response to protests becomes violent, Burnat goes through one camera after another: two are struck with live bullets as he's filming; a third is hit with a teargas canister. The smashed-up gadgetry forms a kind of chronology for the Bil'in campaign and a symbolic monument to the casualties. Teaming with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, the two crafted Burnat's archive of footage into a film that is partly a piece of advocacy journalism. But it is also a visual essay in autobiography and a moving work of art.

Directors Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.  94 mins, NR.  In Hebrew, Arabic with subtitles

"For anyone who retains an interest in the human contours of the [Israeli-Palestinian conflict], the movie is necessary, if difficult, viewing." —A.O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES