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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Implications of Documentaries like 5 Broken Cameras
In much of American culture, there is an invisible cultural pressure to be part of trends. These examples can be seen by the long lines whenever any new Apple product is released, by the people who run out to buy the latest designer clothing that is solely offered by Target, and by the what is means to be seen with Apple's white ear buds. Although there is a place and value for being part of the mainstream culture, each person carries with them a unique perspective into this world. And in the noise of all the marketing campaigns that try to target the greater population to adopt the next best product or service, it is becoming more difficult to be influenced by perspectives that are not mainstream but at the same time important in helping people see what it means to be human, in its challenges and struggles of life. Emad Burnat possesses a passion in capturing his Palestinian community in battling to retain their village land. His documentary 5 Broken Cameras brings about a view of his life that is rarely ever made conscious in the mainstream lives of the western world. One that gives us a glimpse of what it means to be part of the modern history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although many people have heard about the long withstanding history of Israeli-Palistenian conflict over the West Bank, the documentary brings about a quality of humanity to the conflict through a first person perspective of using non-violence protest strategies to prevent Israeli developer's from building onto the land of their village of Bil'in. Through six years worth of film, Emad is able to show a personable and affective-filled battle of many people in his village that risk their lives in protecting the land of their people. An important aspect that may often be lost to viewers of documentaries is that many of them are acting as a voice to those who have no voice. People of the western world are well-educated compared to the rest of the world and it is important that people learn to use their education and power to improve the lives of others. I have to admit that it is difficult in a world that constantly promotes the improvement of the individual and need to achieve individual success. There is an important significance that documentaries bring to the world. They pave a way for helping those with no voice gain attention and obtain a voice that is necessary. Emad has used his five broken cameras to give a voice to the village people of Bil'in and is helping people understand that not everyone in this world has stability even in the basic needs of food and shelter. Being able to see even this one perspective, is likely to help people realize that there are more important issues at hand in the world other than obtaining the latest gadget or wearing the latest fashion trend. It is therefore critical that people understand the power they possess living in the western world and how they can use it to give a voice to those who need help and do not have a voice.
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