Film review: 5 broken cameras

Hot Docs Trailers 2012: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

 

4 March 2013. A World to Win News Service. 5 Broken Cameras, the first Palestinian documentary nominated for an Oscar, gives an overwhelming depiction of the injustice and brutality on a massive scale against the residents of a village called Bilin in the West Bank. Israeli settlers exude entitlement as they move into new apartments on the hilltops surrounding Bilin, settlements on land stolen from Belin farmers. Not only are Belin’s inhabitants viciously assaulted and oppressed but even the olive trees that are supposedly left to them are burned by brazen settlers or uprooted by the army using armoured construction machinery.

Starting in 2005 and filming over a period of five years with a succession of five cameras destroyed one after another by Israeli soldiers or settlers, Emad Burnat, a farmer turned amateur filmmaker, documented the protests against the land seizures by the Israeli government and the wall under construction that occupies and will separate them from their farmland. Despite great personal risk, he continued filming from a sense of moral obligation to his people and the desire to make the world aware of the struggle to save their land. In 2009 Burnat enlisted the aid of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to help make the film.

The film won many prizes worldwide, in Europe and in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. That this documentary did not win an Oscar is not surprising in a climate where the reactionary feature film Argo received the award for the best picture of the year. Despite having an official invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, when Emad Burnat, his wife and youngest son Gibreel landed in Los Angeles, they were detained and almost deported by U.S. immigration officials until filmmaker Michael Moore intervened and called in Academy lawyers. Continue reading