5 Broken Cameras (2012)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A different perspect on a conflict that many might not see

Sometimes feels a bit unbalanced or prompted

Movie Info

Movie Name:  5 Broken Cameras

Studio:  Kino Lorber

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  November 23, 2011 (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Emad Burnat caught in the crossfire

Emad Burnat and his family live in Bil’in, a West Bank village being consumed by Israeli settlers.  As Emad’s son Gibreel is born, Bil’in has begun a non-violent protest against the taking of their land.  As Emad finds himself shooting the conflict…going from non-professional home movie maker to impromptu journalist, he captures events unfold that literally include life and death.  Personally involved in the story, Emad tells the story of the protest through the five cameras that live (and die) to tell the tale.

Directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras was praised by critics and fans.  It was released at film festivals around the world and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.


Protest leads to death

This is an interesting story with an interesting perspective.  In the United States, news is often slanted to the Israeli side of the story and it is refreshing to hear the other side of the conflict through people actually losing their land.  Through the first person account it demonstrates the frustration by the people.  It is also interesting to see Emad becoming more of a journalist as the film progresses.

The style of the film really lends itself to the “story”.  With the home movies, you see real people living in a situation most people can’t imagine.  It also shows how to people in villages like Bil’in, that this type of violence is everyday life.  It seems odd that Emad’s children allowed to be exposed to such violence, but it is just more of an everyday thing versus something shocking to outsiders.  It shows how like-it-or-not the children become conditioned to a way of life that leads to more violence and more anger and resentment.


The children march!

It does feel like Emad sometimes leads the viewer.  With some of his showing of Gibreel, I think that Gibreel is being prompted too much to go against the Israelis and to dislike them.  The line between pride and urging on the youth is blurred a little.  A five year old probably shouldn’t be asking why his father doesn’t stab Israeli soldiers because they killed a loved one.  While friendship between the youth of both cultures could be fostered (by both sides), parents instead push their prejudices upon their kids and it is a bit sad but unavoidable.

5 Broken Cameras is definitely worth seeking out.  The movie explores the conflict that has been raging for years and gives a more real life approach to the situation.  I encourage people to see the movie and see another side that many never see.  I would also welcome a follow-up documentary in the future from Emad to see how things have changed or remained the same.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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