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5 Broken Cameras


Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village where Israel is building a security fence. Palestinian Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, shot the film and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi co-directed. The filmmakers follow one family’s evolution over five years, witnessing a child’s growth from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him.


  • Video Librarian
    Putting a human face on a half-century-plus conflict, this Sundance Film Festival award-winner is highly recommended.
  • Educational Media Reviews Online
    Documenting both his son’s first five years and the continuing Palestinian resistance to the Israeli presence, Burnat’s footage proves that the personal is political and the political is personal… Recommended
  • The Hollywood Reporter
    The bottom line:
    Emand Burnat and Guy Davidi tell the story of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through raw video footage. An engrossing, out-of-the-ordinary film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, whose violence is written on the cameraman’s own body.
    Deborah Young
  • Slant
    It doesn't take long at all for the personal and the political to merge seamlessly in 5 Broken Cameras, an immediately involving and moving portrait of the Palestinian troubles through the eyes of one of the film's co-directors, Emad Burnat. A lifelong resident of the small village of Bil'in, Burnat quickly went from being a man of the soil to a man with a movie camera in 2005, just as his fourth son, Gibreel, was born in his small West Bank village and has continued to film the struggles of his village against the settlers—a word used to refer to nearly all Israeli private citizens who occupy disputed territory.
    Spanning from the birth of Gibreel to the end of 2010, 5 Broken Camera is made up almost entirely of footage shot by Mr. Burnat, which was then edited by Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker and film professor who's credited as co-director as well as editor. What emerges through their partnership is a chronology of tragedy and endurance, at once the story of the gradual development of a village full of indivertible activists, the turmoil and horror surrounding the construction of the barrier that separates Bil'in from the settlers, and a treatise on the importance of the camera and visual documentation in modern protest.
    Chris Cabin
  • Variety
    Shot largely by local man Emad Burnat on the titular quintet of wrecked rigs, docu "Five Broken Cameras" is an undeniably powerful record of the Palestinian village of Bil'in's course of civil disobedience from 2005 to the present, as the residents collectively resist the building of Israeli settlements. Co-helmed by Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi, the pic is also shamelessly sentimental and manipulative in its construction, never resisting a chance to throw up images of saucer-eyed toddlers asking questions like, "Why did the soldiers kill my friend?" Double whammy of pro-Palestinian polemic and film-about-filmmaking subject matter will ensure many more fest bookings.
    Leslie Felperin
  • Time Out New-York
    His West Bank hometown of Bil’in having turned into a site of weekly civil disobedience and provocative Israeli land development, Palestinian Emad Burnat, a family man, took to documenting the clash, beginning in 2005. Unwittingly, he started calling himself a journalist—isn’t that often how it happens?—and while Burnat’s equipment suffered the brunt of his risk (see title), the results are eye-opening. Sharpened into an adrenalizing narrative by codirector Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras places you squarely in the face of interrogating Israeli soldiers or dangerously close to Humvees being pelted with rocks. Blocky settlements and separation barriers materialize over the years; we come to recognize the main protesters and worry about their safety every time they approach the front lines.
  • Artinfo Movie Joural
    Gripping from the get go is the quasi home movie “5 Broken Cameras,” playing Tuesday night at MoMA en route from Sundance hosannas to a Film Forum opening in late May. Palestinian photographer Emad Bernat ran through five digital recorders, four of them smashed by the Israeli army, in the course of documenting the five-year-long struggle between the essentially non-violent residents of his West Bank town and the Israeli settlers whose “protective barrier” steadily encroached on their ancestral land. The movie is both an infuriating j’accuse and an remarkable demonstration of human solidarity, in part because it was assembled from hours of footage by Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, as well as a powerful act of witnessing. To see it is to wonder what it would have been like to have a black Alabaman’s 8mm documentation of the civil rights struggle.
    J. Hoberman
  • Spirituality & Practice
    It is a smart and satisfying strategy to structure the documentary around Burnat's five cameras (one by one they are shot or smashed) and his experiences with them as he films daily arrests, scary confrontations, the death of friends, and night raids. The filmmaker is committed to keeping a record of what is happening to his people in this David vs. Goliath conflict. Understandably, his concerned wife wants him to stop, fearing that he is putting his own life in jeopardy. But we know that Burnat will be encouraged to continue when people around the world realize what a remarkable documentary he has created about the untold stories of the Palestinian struggle over the past five years.
    Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
  • The guardian
    Injustice, hazard and hope are vividly captured in this defiant one-man chronicle of life in an embattled Palestinian village
    Phillip French

Festival Participation

  • International Emmy Awards - 2013
    Best Documentary
  • GZDOC - 2012
    Best Documentary
  • IDFA Feature-Length Competition - 2011
    Audience Award ,Special Jury Mention
  • Eurodok Documentary Film Festival - 2012
    Best Documentary
  • Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition - 2012
    World Documentary Directing Award
  • Yerevan International Film Festival - 2012
    GOLDEN APRICOT-Best Documentary
  • Cinema Du Ree - 2012
    Louis Marcorelles Award
  • Doc/Fest Sheffield - 2012
    Audience Award
  • Durban Film Festival - 2012
    Best Documentary
  • Jerusalem Film Festival - 2012
    Best Feature Documentary
  • Traverse City Film Festival - 2012
    Best Picture
  • Planet + Docs - 2012
    The Millennium Award Grand Prize ,The Marshall of Lower Silesia Award

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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