5 Broken Cameras Review (Kirk Haviland)

5 Broken Cameras

Starring – Emad Burnat

Written by Guy Davidi

Directed by Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat

A brilliant premise is behind the filmmaker Guy Davidi’s 5 Broken Cameras. He used footage from said cameras collected over the span of 5 years by Emad Burnat around his village to tell a griping story of defiance and tyranny. He then had the man who shot the footage narrate the goings on all while telling the story of his young family and how they cope with growing up in this war-torn backdrop.

Emad is a villager in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. When his fourth son is born, Gibreel, Emad comes in the possession of his first video camera. Meanwhile the Israeli army has started to encroach on the village’s land and build a barrier to keep the villagers at bay while they illegally build new housing on the these lands so that they can move Israelis in. The villagers organize protests against this barrier as it has started to harm their land and taken away the olive trees, a staple of the Palestinian villager’s diet. Emad’s family grows up fast in the background of this and in front of the cameras. Through the course of the five years of struggle Emad’s cameras are shot multiple times, destroyed by soldiers multiple times and in the case of camera four wrecked in a car accident that put Emad in hospital for two months. We meet the leaders of the revolution as they protest and are sent to jail, as is Emad. And of course through it all the ever growing Gibreel is witnessing the struggle firsthand and growing up quick.

The footage captured here is gripping and horrific, as it includes people being shot and maimed at close range and the villager’s mourning their losses, both human and land, as the once beautiful countryside is butchered. Emad makes for a fascinating narrator, and you really feel for all four of his sons as they deal with the realities of their situation. Young Gibreel is forced to grow up way too fast and at the age of five is already asking his dad why he doesn’t fight back and kill the soldiers, a telling yet harrowing reflection of the time and place Gibreel has been force to grow up in.

Brilliantly conceived and executed with a strong and vital message, 5 Broken Cameras is a definite recommend.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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