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The Marines of Echo Company
When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his first camera. In his village, Bil'in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist this decision. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is led by two of his best friends, alongside filming how Gibreel grows. Very soon it affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family; his friends, brothers and himself are either shot or arrested. One camera after another is shot at or smashed. Each of the 5 cameras tells part of his story. Written by
Emad Burnat - Narrator:
Healing is a challenge in life. It's a victim sole obligation. By healing, you resist oppression. But when I'm hurt over and over again, I forget the wounds that rule my life. Forgotten wounds can't be healed. So I film to heal. I know they may knock at my door at any moment. But I'll just keep filming. It helps me confront life. And survive.
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5 Broken Cameras (2011) is a Palestinian documentary film directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi. The movie is narrated by Emad Burnat, who films life and strife in his village in the occupied West Bank.
Living in an occupied territory will always be frustrating and, at times, humiliating. However, the major issue that the film follows is the building of huge Israeli "settlements" in the occupied territory. (The "settlements" look like large, fortress-like, apartment complexes.)
Although we have all seen footage of Palestinians throwing rocks, and Israeli soldiers responding with teargas and rubber bullets, Burnat films less dramatic instances of nonviolent resistance by Palestinian villagers. As a participant-observer, Burnat is himself vulnerable. He was seriously injured in one skirmish. The title "Five Broken Cameras" refers to Burnat's own cameras, which were smashed during confrontations with Israeli soldiers. (Some of the cameras were purposely destroyed, while others were hit by rubber bullets.)
Whatever your position is about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it's useful to see a film that presents the Palestinian perspective. We saw this movie at Rochester's Little Theatre as part of the excellent Witness Palestine Film Series. It will work better on a large screen, but it's worth seeing on DVD if that's the only option available. Five Broken Cameras was nominated for an Oscar in 2012 as Best Foreign Film.
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