5 Broken Cameras: Movie

5 Broken Cameras (Arabic: خمس كاميرات محطمةKhamas Kamīrāt Muḥaṭṭamah; Hebrew: חמש מצלמות שבורותHamesh Matslemot Shvurot) is a 94-minute documentary film co-directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi. It was shown at film festivals in 2011 and placed in general release by Kino Lorber in 2012. 5 Broken Cameras is a first-hand account of protests in Bil’in, a West Bank village affected by the Israeli West Bank barrier. The documentary was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. In 2009 Israeli co-director Guy Davidi joined the project. Structured around the destruction of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of turmoil.[2] The film won a 2012 Sundance Film Festival award, it won the Golden Apricot at the 2012 Yerevan International Film Festival, Armenia, for Best Documentary Film, won the 2013 International Emmy Award,[3][4] and was nominated for a 2013 Academy Award.


There are five cameras — each with its own story. When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born in 2005, self-taught cameraman Emad Burnat, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. At the same time in his village of Bil’in, the Israelis begin bulldozing village olive groves to build a barrier to separate Bil’in from the Jewish Settlement Modi’in Illit. The barrier’s route cuts off 60% of Bil’in farmland and the villagers resist this seizure of more of their land by the settlers.

During the next year, Burnat films this struggle, which is led by two of his best friends including his brother Iyad, while at the same time recording the growth of his son. Very soon, these events begin to affect his family and his own life. Emad films the Army and Police beating and arresting villagers and activists who come to support them. Settlers destroy Palestinian olive trees and attack Burnat when he tries to film them. The Army raids the village in the middle of the night to arrest children. He, his friends, and brothers are arrested or shot; some are killed. Each camera used to document these events is shot or smashed.

Eventually, in 2009, Burnat approaches Guy Davidi[5] – an Israeli filmmaker and together, from these five broken cameras and the stories that they represent, these two filmmakers create the film.


Background and Emad Burnat

Israel began construction of an Israeli West Bank barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in, Palestine in 2005.[6] Discovering that the wall would cut through their agricultural land, confiscating half of it, the villagers initiated popular protests and were joined by Israeli and international activists.[citation needed] At that point Burnat received a camera to document the movement.

In 2007 the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the barrier rerouted,[6] and four years later, after village access to some of the land was restored, the demonstrations were called off.[7] A case against Canada, for failing to prevent Canadian corporations from being complicit in the building of the settlements, is currently pending before the UN Human Rights Committee.

The first year, Burnat filmed mainly to serve the purposes of activists. His footage was introduced as evidence in Israeli court and posted on YouTube to spread awareness of the growing movement.

As media interest in Bil’in grew, Burnat’s footage gained international recognition and was used by local and international news agencies. He started working as a freelance photographer for Reuters and provided footage documenting the villagers’ fight to professional filmmakers. This footage was used in such notable films as Shai Carmeli Pollac’s Bil’in, My Love and Guy Davidi’s and Alesandre Goetschmann Interrupted Streams.[2]

Pre-Production and Guy Davidi

Burnat was approached in 2009 by Greenhouse, a Mediterranean film development project, to develop a documentary. The project focused on the non-violent movement and especially on Bassem Abu-Rahme, who was killed earlier that year at a demonstration in Bil’in. After some difficulties, Burnat approached Israeli filmmaker, Guy Davidi who had just finished editing “Interrupted Streams”, Davidi’s first feature documentary which was released in 2010 at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

Earlier, Davidi had been involved in the left-wing organizations Indymedia and Anarchists Against the Wall.[8] “Until my twenties,” Davidi has said in an interview, “it was very hard for me to work in Israel. I felt it was a very destructive environment, a very violent environment…. There is a lot of aggression expressed towards the arts in Israel. I connect it completely with the political situation….So I left for Paris and I found time to reflect on my life…. I kind of found a freedom in Paris and I wanted to express it as well in Israel. And ever since my life was connected with the West Bank.”[9]

Davidi provided Burnat’s film with a new concept: Burnat himself, the cameraman, would be the protagonist, and the story would be told from his point of view. Davidi also proposed that the film be structured around the history of the destruction of Burnat’s cameras. Footage that Burnat shot of his family was also incorporated into the film, thus enhancing the personal element.

Beginning in 2009, Burnat, adhering to the new concept for the film, focused more extensively on his family’s reactions to events. A few important scenes shot by other cameramen (including Guy Davidi) were used to supplement the narrative, and to introduce Burnat as a character.[2]


Starting in 2009, Davidi worked on the voice-overs and structuring the film. In 2011 French editor Véronique Lagoarde–Ségot joined the project to edit the final cut of the 90-minute film and to create the 52-minute television version. The film takes the form of a diary, and is divided into 5 sections, each of which recounts the story of one of the five cameras that Burnat used over the years.

In a prologue, Burnat is shown with his 5 broken cameras laid out on a table. This scene is returned to at the end of the film. Title cards identifying the time periods during which each camera was used are shown at the start of each episode as well as the epilogue. The story shifts frequently between the dramatic public events in the village and the highly intimate scenes involving Burnat’s family.

The most prominent narrative is of Burnat’s fourth son Gibreel, whose growth throughout almost 6 years is documented in the film. The birth of Gibreel occurs at the same time as the birth of the non-violent movement in the village; later in the film, Gibreel’s first words are “wall” and “cartridge,” uttered when he crosses the barrier with his brothers and finally writes his name on the second concrete wall at the end of the film.

Beginning with the episode involving the third camera, the personal and village movement narratives grow more integrated. Burnat becomes more conspicuous as a protagonist. First he is placed under house arrest and films himself, then he is filmed at the moment a bullet directly hits his third camera.[2]

The Gatekeepers (film)

internationally co-produced documentary film by director Dror Moreh that tells the story of the Israeli internal security service, Shin Bet (known in Hebrew as ‘Shabak’), from the perspective of six of its former heads.

The film combines in-depth interviews, archival footage, and computer animation to recount the role that the group played in Israel’s security from the Six-Day War to the present.[3] The film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards.[4]

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Wesley Morris joins us to talk about “Green Book”, the latest Oscar winner to focus on a white character’s moral journey in an interracial friendship.

Three decades ago, the highest honor at the Academy Awards was given to a movie about a white passenger learning to love her black chauffeur. Sunday night, the same award was given to a film about a white chauffeur learning to love his black passenger. We look at Hollywood’s obsession with fantasies of racial reconciliation.

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