2012 Sundance Docs in Focus: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

Next up in the World Cinema Documentary Competition is the first of four films that also screened recently at IDFA: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, from Palestine/Israel/France, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s moving and very personal document of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict played out in one village.

Sundance Program Description:

Five broken cameras—and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements.

Gibreel’s loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and—from the wreckage of five broken cameras—two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art.

Some Background:
Burnat and Davidi’s film picked up two awards at IDFA – a Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award. The film marks Burnat’s feature documentary directorial debut after DP work on several other documentaries, including Davidi’s first feature doc, INTERRUPTED STREAMS, which premiered at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

Why You Should Watch:
The self-taught Burnat’s footage is raw, riveting, and immediate. The film successfully interweaves his personal narrative with that of the village of Bil’in and its resistance to encroaching Israeli settlements. With both his cameras and his own body caught in the crossfire of violence, the cameraman literally personalizes what he and his fellow villagers view as a state of apartheid to clear and infuriating effect.

More Info:
Burnat and Davidi speak with Indiewire about their doc here. The doc’s trailer may be found here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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