Friday, 25 January 2013

5 Broken Cameras

5 Broken Cameras, nominated for this year’s Academy Awards (for Best Documentary) is a documentary film from Israel/Palestine chronicling five years of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation in the village of Bil’in in the West Bank (the most well-known incidence of Palestinian resistance). It was co-directed by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer whose five cameras captured the video footage, and Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker who joined the resistance and became friends with Burnat.

5 Broken Cameras does an amazing job of summarizing five years (2005-2010) of resistance to various kinds of Israeli infringement on the land of the Palestinians, highlighted by the building of a barrier which separated them from much of their farm land (followed later by a wall). The leaders of the resistance (friends and relatives of the farmer/filmmaker) consistently called for nonviolent resistance, but the patience of the young men in their ranks wore thin and some began throwing rocks and bricks. The young Israeli soldiers responded to any threat with violence, killing (and arresting) a number of those who were part of the nonviolent movement. All of this is captured on film.

The nonviolent resistance in Bil’in drew worldwide attention to the Israeli occupation and resulted in some small victories for the Palestinian people.

I missed a discussion of the reasons for keeping the resistance nonviolent and was left with too many unanswered questions about the life of the filmmaker, so I am only giving 5 Broken Cameras ***+ and it won’t make my top ten. Still, it’s a film everyone should see as a prime example of what has been happening all over the West Bank during the past few decades. 

Tomorrow: My top ten films of 2012.

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