Filmed from the perspective of a Palestinian farm laborer (Emad Burnat), 5 Broken Cameras was shot using six different video cameras – five of which were destroyed in the process of documenting Emad’s family’s life as well as Palestinian and International resistance to Israeli appropriation of land and occupation. Emad, who lives in Bil'in, just west of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, was thrust into global politics when his community peacefully resisted Israeli plans to erect a wall through their land to separate them from the ever growing Israeli settlements. Initially given the camera to chronicle the birth and childhood of his son Gibreel, the film captures Gibreel growing into a precocious preschooler against the backdrop of the many non-violent protests that have become an intrinsic part of life in Bil'in.
With hundreds of hours of video footage covering a period of over six years, Emad started working with Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to produce a film. Guy helped shape the material and compose a commentary for the film. Together, they have turned 5 Broken Cameras into a larger-than-life lyrical device that both informs and structures their personal and collective struggles in the West Bank.
An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 Broken Cameras daringly meshes personal essay with political cinema, displaying how images and cameras can change lives and realities.
Winner, IDFA Special Jury Prize and Audience Award
Winner, Grand Jury Award, London Open City Docs Fest
Winner, Audience Award, Doc/Fest Sheffield
Winner, Louis Marcorelle Award, Cinéma du Réel, Paris
Winner, Eurodok Award, Oslo
Winner, Best Documentary, Jerusalem Film Festival
Born in Jaffa, Guy Davidi is a documentary filmmaker who has been directing, editing, and shooting films since the age of 16. He also teaches film in high schools, and to artists and activists. His short documentaries include In Working Progress, Keywords, and Women Defying Barriers; his first feature film, Interrupted Streams, premiered in 2010 at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
5 Broken Cameras (2011)
5 Broken Cameras (2011)
Interrupted Streams (Israel, 2010)
Keywords (Israel, 2010)
Women Defying Barriers (2010)
A Gift from Heaven (2009)
In Working Progress (2006)
Written by Guy Davidi
Producers Christine Camdessus, Serge Gordey, Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Cinematographer Emad Burnat
Editors Veronique Lagoarde-Segot, Guy Davidi
Music Le Trio Joubran
Sound Editing and Mixing Amélie Canini
A Guy DVD Films, Burnat Films Palestine, and Alegría Productions Film.
2011, color / black and white, video, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles, 90’
“A powerful personal testimony: the kind of material that never makes the nightly news…about a Palestinian village on the West Bank”
“A Palestinian village on the West Bank, substantially but precariously dependent on olive farming, which is threatened with obliteration by the Israel, government’s anti-terrorist barrier…It is of course a one-sided film, but a powerful testimony on the kind of material that never makes the nightly news”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
“Injustice, hazard and hope ads vividly captured in this defiant one-man chronicle of life in an embattled Palestinian village…one of the best, most involving documentaries of the past couple of years.
5 Broken Cameras is a polemical work and in no sense analytical. It presents with overwhelming power a case of injustice on a massive scale, and gives us a direct experience of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of oppression and dispossession...Much may be concealed, but what we are shown in the resilient spirit of one village recorded by a single observer.”
Philip French, THE OBSERVER
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“This fly-on-the-wall look at one Palestinian man’s life movingly cuts through the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”
“A tough watch that’ll leave you despairing of peace anytime soon”
Cath Clarke, TIME OUT
“I never thought of making films declares Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat…But as Israeli soldiers invaded his village to seize the land for settler occupation, he began to document the locals’ grass roots resistance.”
“Israel’s Palestine-excluding barricade – that concrete monster – is the war-maker in 5 Broken Cameras. This extraordinary diary movie was made by West Bank villager Emad Burnat...A film whose visual honesty is unsparing and unflinching”
Nigel Andrews, THE FINANCIAL TIMES
“It is sometimes difficult, as this chronicle of bitter endurance unfolds, to believe with one’s own eyes the things that are being allowed to happen…The picture as a whole could scarcely be more real or wrenching, and the viewer, when not choking with outrage as this land-theft, is mostly stunned with admiration for a film-maker and his people’s courageous perseverance”
Anthony Quinn, THE INDEPENDENT
“Better than many a more professional effort might have done, Burnat’s multi-award winning film tells us with eloquence what the villagers went through…the immediacy of the film is palpable”
Derek Malcolm, THE EVENING STANDARD
“A home video that became a video about losing a homeland – that’s 5 Broken Cameras…
‘I film to heal and survive’, Burnat says, and he does.”
Kate Muir, THE TIMES
“A very direct and personal protest film”
Laurence Phelan, THE INDEPENDENT RADAR
“A Palestinian man documents Israeli intrusions on his West Bank village…a powerful, tragic account”
“The personal and the political come together in this moving video diary from the West Bank”
GUARDIAN GUIDE - PICK OF THE WEEK
“A remarkable tribute to the ordinary men, women and children resisting bullets, grenades and raids with diginity, determination and good humour”
David Parkinson, EMPIRE
“A valuable and forceful record of life in an embattled Palestinian community.”
Edward Porter, THE SUNDAY TIMES
“Eloquent and powerful in its simplicity”
Jason Solomons, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Eye-opening! Sharpened into an adrenalizing narrative by co-director Guy Davidi. A proudly defiant work… a work that, obliquely, captures so many largely unreported details.'
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Click here to read the full review.
‘[A] rigorous and moving work of art.’
A. O. Scott, The New York Times
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‘An engrossing, out-of-the-ordinary film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, whose violence is written on the cameraman’s own body...Uniquely powerful, putting faces and human consequences to a political dispute that will seemingly never end.’
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
'Startlingly intimate and direct. Shot with such precision and visual ingenuity under such plainly chaotic conditions.'
Mark Holcomb, Village Voice
'Displays both distinction and the emergence of significant talent. Working with co-director Guy Davidi, an Israeli, Burnat has crafted a moving film that is poised on the brink of despair…
Presents vivid witness to the power of the image to help with…healing.'
George Robinson, The Jewish Week
'(A) powerful record of the Palestinian village of Bil’in’s course of civil disobedience from 2005 to the present, as the residents collectively resist the building of Israeli settlements.'
Leslie Felperin, Variety
'A compelling personal tale.'
Ethan Bronner, The New York Times
“Powerful from the get go…a powerful actor of witnessing...An unflinching review of the Palestinian experience…it’s powerful, infuriating stuff.'
J. Hoberman, Artinfo
Click here to read the full review