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5 Broken Cameras

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29 April 2013

€œ5 Broken Cameras" Guy Davidi (2011)5 Broken Cameras
INTRODUCTION
5 Broken Cameras is a documentary film that premiered in the year 2011. Co-directed by a Palestine Emad Burnat and an Israeli Guy Davidi, the movie generally explains the happenings of the protests of a certain Westbank village which was directly affected by the Israeli Westbank barrier. This documentary was shot by a single person, Emat Burnat. Emat Burnat, a farmer, had bought his very first camera in the year 2005 in order to record the birth of his fourth born son Gibreel (Guy Davidi 2011). However, in 2009, Guy Davidi joined Burnat and they both began co-creating the documentary film. The plot of the movie revolves around the violent destruction of Mr Burnat’s five cameras and 5 years of extreme village tumult that a family faced.
In 2009, Mr Burnat was approached by Greenhouse, a film development, with the sole aim of producing a documentary film. However, the project would only involve non violent movements as opposed to screening the whole truth. This made the deal go sour as an agreement between the two could not be reached. Burnat then later on in the year approached Davidi with whom they struck a deal. Davidi decided that Burnat would be the protagonist in the movie narrating the whole story infront of a cameraman. Davidi also passed out instructions that Burnat’s camera be used and some clips and footage of his home and family were included in the making of the documentary film. The film scenes essentially came from Burnat’s camera though some several shots were added from Davidi’s camera so as to supplement the film. The documentary film has received quite a good reception even from critics. The documentary film won an award for World Cinema Directing at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to this, 5 Broken Cameras was even nominated for best documentary feature in the 85th academy awards.
PLOT OF THE FILM
As earlier mentioned, Burnat had initially purchased the camera for the sole purpose of filming the birth of his last born son. At this particular time when his son was being born, there was unrest in his village of Bil’in due to the Israeli building the Israeli Westbank barrier (Cath Clarke 2012). Apparently, the barrier was passing through the agricultural rich village. Burnat then deliberated and began documenting the proceedings of the village protest. Burnat continued recording grenade attacks, genocide and gunfire in his camera for the following five years. The aftermath of the production of the recorded footage is master class of political activism which keeps its viewer totally glued to the screen at all times while still giving a real second hand experience in real life conflicts. However, filming the documentary was full of challenges. Burnat faced opposition from other people and it is really not hard to deduce upon watching the film that the contents are somehow forbidden and are in jeopardy of being cut off. There is a great sense of social injustice portrayed and also the urgent need to protect the rights of the village inhabitants who were slowly being evicted from their original homes due to the Israeli Westbank barrier. Throughout the documentary film, all five of Burnat’s cameras are all destroyed due to the ongoing wrangles in the community.
In a deeper perspective, the five cameras are just but an extension of Burnat. In two separate instances, the cameras literally save him from death when they block bullets which were aimed at his head. The documentary film is all true based. No staging whatsoever is present and all the brutal killings of innocent villagers is all true. In the film, Burnat is involved in a car accident that leaves his severely injured and he remains unconscious for a duration of 20 days. The result of this accident is the stapling of his stomach that leaves a scar almost 30 centimeters long. This sacrificial act of Burnat just so that he can film the documentary clearly is a shocker to the viewers but it does a lot to captivate them. The star of the film is none other than the little boy Gibreel. He grows up surrounded by violence and all sorts of animosity. The violence indeed takes a huge toll on his life as a young boy as his first words are ‘army’ and ‘wall’ referring to the Westbank barrier. His three brothers are shown throughout in the film and as they grow, they too become protestors a deed that prompted Burnat to label them tough men. At Gibreel’s fifth birthday, Burnat is heard saying that Gibreel will turn out to be a strong man and perhaps a future freedom fighter of the oppressed and marginalized community.
POSITIVE REVIEW
Despite the film being about genocide, deaths and the like, there are some bits of the movie where there is humor and poignancy. In a certain scene for instance, some chicken sit up a branch of a tree and onlookers humorously laugh saying that they are free as they do not have any walls. The ending of the documentary film is on a positive note as Burnat blatantly says that he and his sixth camera survived a gunshot and that he would continue filming the events as they unfold. The movie generally is a voice for the oppressed. The documentary film also lays emphasis on the need for globalization where social relations should be extended in the world space. In doing this, peace would not only be ensured but problems associated with wars and violence will be a thing of the past.
CRITICISM
The film is basically one sided as we do not get to see the perspective of the Israeli people and why they decided to erect the Israeli Westbank barrier. The viewer might have a biased view of the whole happenings citing that there could be a distinct probability that the land could have initially been their’s. The film has disturbing pictures and is definitely not for the weak hearted and certainly not for children. Efforts have been made in order to reduce graphic images on the television making the documentary film to run for only 50 minutes as opposed to the full 95 minutes. This however has a bad effect in that the viewer is does not get the full picture of the violence and its repercussions on the community of Bil’in
Conclusion
When all is said and done, 5 Broken Cameras is indeed a masterpiece. The award it received and the Oscar nomination is a true testimony of this. Despite it being one sided, it very well gives a true testimony of the suffering of the people of Bil’in. 5 Broken Cameras is a must watch and I would recommend it for persons who are not faint hearted. It is indeed worth your time watching.

References
Cath Clarke (2012),Timeout: 5 Broken Camers,12 2012 retrieved from http://www.timeout.com/london/film/5-broken-cameras
Guy Davidi (2011)IMDb: 5 Broken Cameras 2011 retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2125423/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl

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