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5 Broken Cameras (2012)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 41
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 16
Fresh: 15
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 1,785


Movie Info

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 footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat's … More

Documentary , Drama , Art House & International , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Jan 15, 2013
Box Office:
Kino Lorber Films - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for 5 Broken Cameras

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (2)

This is how the conflict looks from the other side of the barrier.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

A tough watch that'll leave you despairing of peace anytime soon.

Full Review… | October 16, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

As raw as the material of "5 Broken Cameras" can be, it is also lyrical and elegiac.

Full Review… | September 13, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

[A] bit jagged, inevitably incomplete, and in no way news-breaking: it is simply moving.

Full Review… | August 8, 2012
The New Republic
Top Critic

Takes the rough material of one man's life and transforms it into a story that is universal and urgent, offering firsthand witness to events that are too often portrayed as distant and impossible to understand.

Full Review… | July 13, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

Both a moving first-person essay and an artful exercise in political advocacy, 5 Broken Cameras is about the experience of West Bank protests from the inside.

Full Review… | June 22, 2012
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

5 Broken Cameras is cinema made - not as if - but really, literally because the life of the film-maker depends on it.

Full Review… | December 29, 2013

... a mix of citizen journalism and social memoir.

Full Review… | March 24, 2013
Turner Classic Movies Online

Don't look to the film for specifics, but see instead a picture that suggests the impossibility of peace and a broken system, that while effective, practically ensures another go-round with the next generation.

Full Review… | March 14, 2013
The Playlist

More than or in addition to being a non-fiction, the film is a piece of life told from a personal perspective.

Full Review… | February 23, 2013
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The circumstances under which this provocative, Oscar-nominated Palestinian documentary were made are just as interesting as the work itself.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013

[A] distressing portrait of everyday life in the West Bank... [B]oth horrific... and powerfully warm, funny, and human.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013
Flick Filosopher

Burnat and Davidi give us access to one slice of the conflict, packaging it into a sturdily constructed work that bristles with barely contained fury.

Full Review… | February 18, 2013

It's a highly personalised and subjective account of the situation, yet still gives us a clear sense of how complicated life there is.

Full Review… | November 4, 2012

A fascinating reminder of why the humble video camera can be used as a weapon against political oppression.

Full Review… | October 24, 2012
Little White Lies

It presents with overwhelming power a case of injustice on a massive scale, and gives us a direct experience of what it's like to be on the receiving end of oppression and dispossession ...

Full Review… | October 21, 2012
Observer [UK]

It's impossible to understate the importance of this documentary in helping us see exactly what life is like in occupied Palestine.

Full Review… | October 19, 2012

It is of course a one-sided film, but a powerful personal testimony: the kind of material that never makes the nightly news.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012

Each broken camera records a human tragedy as it flickers with its last gaze.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Financial Times

Burnat's first-person footage of skirmishes with Israeli forces, filmed over five years on the titular damaged equipment, should have been allowed to tell its own story.

Full Review… | October 18, 2012
Daily Telegraph

A touching and revelatory piece of film-making about the plights of real people living in an uncertain world.

Full Review… | October 15, 2012
Empire Magazine

Despite all the suffering and injustice, the final message is one of optimism that feels neither facile nor tacked-on.

Full Review… | September 28, 2012
Total Film

Audience Reviews for 5 Broken Cameras


Much of the footage strongly begs for historical and legal context that is never given, weakening the credibility of the film's narrative. But there is no denying the striking, unjust scenes of Israeli violence against unarmed protestors.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer

A Palestinian peasant teamed up with an Israeli director to deliver this remarkable and moving work of historical importance, which exposes a revolting situation of abusive oppression by invading Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Bil'in.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

In the heartbreaking and deeply moving documentary, "5 Broken Cameras," Emad Burnat, like any proud father, uses a video camera to record every single waking moment of his fourth son Gilbreel in order to embarrass him later when he is an adult. As the owner of one of the only ones in his village, he is also the unofficial chronicler of events such as the circus. And since this is the occupied West Bank we are talking about, that extends to the building of the security wall which threatens to divide the village lands to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. The villagers respond with protests that are mostly peaceful and a little ingenious in places, and are joined by Israeli and other international activists.

Even though it is a little repetitive(perhaps by design), especially on Emad reminding us about the importance of the land, as he and other villagers depend on harvesting olives for their livelihood, "5 Broken Cameras" also shows in harrowing detail what it is like to live in the occupied territories, as Emad captures some stunning footage while putting himself and his cameras at risk, hence the title, not only for injury, but also jail time. In fact, one of his cameras ends up taking a bullet for him, but that is not what sends him to the hospital(an Israeli one) for an extended stay.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


5 Broken Cameras is a documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicling his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army. I'll keep this short since documentaries are not my strong suit when it comes to reviewing. The documentary is a very personal experience through the perspective of farmer and family man Emad. We get a good idea of how it feels like to be protesting in Bil'in and Emad life struggles. The footage is rough showing acts violence (some deaths occur on camera) against nonviolent protester (at least according to the narrator). The footage presented gives an understanding the consequences of the occupation, the suffering of the other side, the dangers of the status-quo and of the lack of progress in the peace process.

It suffers from not having any kind of historical overview and spend too little on discussing politics. So for anyone who's not familiar with this event will receive minor information. Also some summarization on "The Nakba" (which I've included in the next paragraph) would have been welcome since both are similar in how the people are struggling. At it best we feel like we're right alongside protesting and it worst it feels like watching someone bad vacation videos. 5 Broken Cameras is a moving documentary from the point of view those suffering though not an informative one to make everything clear for you.

Historical Note:
The Nakba (or 1948 Palestinian Exodus in the US) was a time when almost 80% (or 50% according to Rashid Khalidi) of Palestine was taken over, and the population in many cities and villages expelled and made into refugees. Hundreds of villages were ethnically cleansed, and several of them today have Israeli Jews living in the old houses owned by Palestinians (not having paid for them of course). These events of the past are similar to what occur in "Five Broken Cameras". This historical note hopefully provides context to why this protest holds such importance for the people of Palestine or informs those not familiar with "The Nakba".

Caesar Mendez

Super Reviewer

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