5 Broken Cameras (2011)

EMAD BURNAT, GUY DAVIDI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Palestine/Israel/France/Netherlands, 2011.  Alegria Productions, Burnat Films, Guy DVD Films.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by Emad Burnat.  Produced by Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi, , .  Music by .  Film Editing by Guy Davidi, .  

An astonishing documentary that places the viewer directly in the middle of devastating conflict.  Emad Burnat has had a passion for videotaping his life on a regular basis for years, which means he is in a position to get plenty of documentation when his village of Bil’in is subject to the expanding Israeli settlement that sees more concrete fences being built around him and more violence erupting between soldiers and protestors.  Burnat recounts the story of this struggle through the narrative of his five subsequent cameras, each of which are damaged in the process of filming some nasty encounters, while marking time with the ages of his four sons as they grow up witnessing a world constantly engaged in battle.

What is most notable about this invigorating film is that it has no soft moments, there are no cutaways to interview subjects talking about plans for peace or giving background information to help the viewer get a wider perspective on the events they are viewing; it’s non-stop hard action as we see life unfolding under very harsh terms for the man behind the camera (and given that he, the first Palestinian ever nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category, was detained along with his family en route to the awards ceremony, it is likely that complications will follow him wherever he goes).  It’s a more than admirable accomplishment to make this film and it should be viewed by all.

Academy Award Nomination:  Best Documentary Feature

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