5 Broken Cameras
Autumn 2012 Documentary series
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 7:00pm
Directed by Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat
Screenplay by Guy Davidi
Rated NR ·
Arabic and Hebrew
5 Broken Cameras
An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the film was assembled by Burnat and Israeli co-director Guy Davidi. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”
When we started this project, we knew we would be criticized for working together. Emad would be asked why he chose to make the film with an Israeli, and Guy would be asked why he chose to make the film with a Palestinian. Still, the actual differences between us were something we could not avoid: we have different cultural backgrounds and different privileges, and we had to learn to use them in a constructive way. There are also different expectations for us as a result of our identities.
When we finally decided to make the film, we decided it had to be as intimate and personal as possible. That was the only way to tell the story in a new and emotional way. For Emad, this was not an obvious or simple decision. Exposure can be flattering, but it can also be risky. On the other hand, the film had be focused on Emad’s narrative, with Guy taking the role of storyteller.
We hope that people come to see the film with open minds and without foregone conclusions. When watching a film that deals with such a painful controversy, we know that people tend to shut down. Most of us divide the world into right and wrong, good and bad, Palestinian and Israeli. We immediately take a side that corresponds to our identity, life experience, or ideology, even though these loyalties prevent us from fully experiencing the world. Reality is wonderfully complex, and we become frustrated when people fight to look at it with only one or two filters.
5 Broken Cameras was made to inspire, and not just to be interpreted as part of the political discourse – although it is, of course, an important part of it. We made the film with sincere initiative, trying to challenge our own assumptions and avoid cliché. In the end, we hope everyone will come away with open hearts.