Directors: Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi. France, Israel, Palestine, 2011. 90 minutes. Cert: CLUB. Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (subtitled).
A deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. shot almost entirely by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is an extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism.
It’s a sad reality for Burnat that one of the first phrases mastered by his toddler son Gibreel, is “the wall”. Burnat has the misfortune to be living in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which Israeli settlers, protected by an aggressive Israeli army, are attempting to make their own.
Although he first bought a camera to film his family, he also begins recording the increasingly chaotic scenes taking place in the beautiful landscape outside his house. When his camera is shot or smashed, he moves onto another one. Five years eventually yields five broken cameras, giving the film its title and chapter structure.
Although he never planned to be a film-maker, Burnat proves to be both a brave and an extraordinary one, keeping his camera rolling amidst frightening scenes of unpredictable aggression, often aimed at himself, in a film richly deserving of its many awards.
Winner – Audience Award and the Special Jury Prize at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Winner – World Cinema Directing Award at the World Documentary Competition at Sundance
Read The Guardian review by critic Philip French [awarded OBE in 2012 for services to film].