5 Broken Cameras Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2013
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.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2014
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.
Cinema-Maniac
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2013
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".
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2012
A literal journey into the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in circumstances where Jewish settlements are being established on lands previously lived on by Palestinians. It is frightening and raw and all captured on cameras that have born the brunt of the conflict. Compelling filming.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2013
Any human being willing to put their life on the line to document certain political activities, whether knowledgeable (or not) of what that action might entail or lead to, is an important historical figure in my book. In the case for the documentary "5 Broken Cameras", Emad Burnat, a Palestinian olive farmer who spends his free-time as an exhibitionist film-maker, is that historical figure, who, whether he knows it or not, puts his life on the line every time he steps into a non-violent protest group with Israeli troops shooting tear gas and live rounds at them. Willing to go through the pain and hassle of not only buying a new camera every time one his is shot, broken, or stolen, but seeing his friends killed in front of him, being involved in serious injuries himself, and having his wife and kids in the path of danger as well and often not supporting him, Emad is making history by documenting the wrongs that are being done to the Palestinians of Bil'in, a peaceful village on the edge of a brand new concrete wall and residential building consuming their way of life. First person, exhibitionist documenting done correctly is my favorite form of journalism, never sparing the viewer and providing a window into a world that they'd other never have the chance to witness. Having Emad's life interweave in the documentary is extremely effective as well, seeing his youngest son grow from a newborn to a young boy, all while the landscape around them changes. Emad's friends become memorable characters in this story as well, especially Adeeb and Phil, who are both highlights of the film and also leave a lasting impression with their eventual story arcs. "5 Broken Cameras" raises awareness, and even if it is heavy on the side of the Palestinians, just being able to see the Israeli army shoot at non-violent protestors is angering enough for me.
½ February 17, 2013
A documentary made from a Palestinian's perspective on the conflict in the West Bank. A good film, and told from a personal point of view rather than a national one. But I do have some reservations. There are two sides to every conflict, and it does portray the Palestinians as nothing but victims, which while I'm sure most of them are and just want to live in peace, there are still instigators on both sides. So, it's a touching if lopsided documentary.
January 8, 2015
A film everyone should see to really understand what's happening in Palestine.
August 10, 2014
Perspective of only one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
June 22, 2014
Brilliant documentary. I'd be surprised if you can watch it without getting angry
June 12, 2014
Your post code where you were born can define alot of things about your life. 5 broken cameras defines this. A documentary with running commentary on a Palestinian family life amidst an opressive Israeli force that see's no reason. Escaping bias in a modern documentary is challenging which this film is shrouded in but it does has a very strong heart provoking humane arguement. Worth watching.
April 12, 2014
Extraordinary documentary that left me heartbroken
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2014
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.
February 8, 2014
A few hundred bucks documentary stirs thousands of emotions
February 8, 2014
You can't be human and not have an opinion on the Occupation, especially not after this.
February 7, 2014
Beautiful and tragic have never described a film so accurately.
February 3, 2014
If you ever question the evil of government, give this documentary a watch.
August 20, 2013
In the current political climate, there is a lot of discussion about Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. About the war and uprising in Syria. About violence in Turkey. About the tyrannical rule of Kim Jong-un in North Korea, and Vladamir Putin in Russia. And of course, about the inability to get along that has been displayed by the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States.

But, the war featured in this film, between the Palestinians and the Isrealis, has been placed by most of the world's media in the too hard basket, which is a shame, because it's become two groups of people fighting for land, and the consequences are far-reaching.

"5 Broken Cameras" is an excellent way to reveal this, with the brilliant amatuer look at what life is truly like in these places. It's eye opening, and a true treat for anyone interested in the subject.
September 14, 2013
Through the lens of narrator/farmer/father Emad Burnat, 5 Broken Cameras documents the occupation of Gaza by Israeli contractors/military starting in 2005. Upon the birth of his youngest son, Emad decides to document the struggle his farming village has endured against Isreal, and unsurprisingly, he and his cameras suffer many injuries from being caught amidst the chaos. Each camera represents a multitude of tragedies, but Emad also makes a point to include not only the shocking, but also the minute human moments that he shares between his brothers and family. This is a great introduction (and a powerful condemnation of Isreal for their unrelenting bullying of the Palestinian people) for those outside the conflict who've never understood just what the stakes are between the two countries, and also for political activists looking for smart and insightful methods of non-violent protest against a seemingly unstoppable force. 5/5 While there are many images I would never want any young children exposed to, this still remains an excellent teaching tool for middle and high schoolers - a powerful indictment of military occupations wherever they occur. Highly recommended.
½ August 30, 2013
Powerful& moving. A must watch.
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