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“5 Broken Cameras” (2011, Iran, Emad Burnat)


Emad Burnat, a resident of Palestine, near the borders of where the Israelis army was taking over the land filmed his experience of how the Israel-Palestine conflicts were occurring moment to moment. Burnat has four children, and his youngest one was living through one of the peaks of the Israel-Palestine conflicts. This time period allowed the Israeli soldiers to annex, bulldoze and evict Palestinian landowners from their own homes, which lead to a major fight between the Palestinians and the Israeli soldiers. Throughout the documentary, Burnat filmed all of the experiences he had to face, and he used five cameras because they kept on being destroyed by soldiers. Since 1946, Israel has been taking over the sacred land of Palestine, which have led to severe brutal conflicts between the two cultures. In this case, this film’s point of view was exclusively Palestinian. The patterns of the conflicts have been continuous where the Palestinians tend to be the victims of the conflicts. The intensity of this film could educate other nations of what the truth is between Israel and Palestine.


Mr. Burnat provided a 94-minute memoir of his everyday life, his family and what he had to deal with every day. At the beginning, the army stated that people’s homes were at risk of being bulldozed as a result of the army building a border wall. During the construction, several citizens peacefully protested for the army not to build the wall, but the soldiers shot and killed or arrested people who got too close to the construction site. During this first protest, Mr. Burnat’s first camera was hit by a gas grenade because he was filming where the protesters were present. Mr. Burnat wanted to send out a clear message across the world about what they were experiencing. About one hour into the documentary, several shots were shown where the military seized people’s property without warning and during those shots, the third camera was destroyed. However, once Mr. Burnat got his 4th camera, Israel decided that building the wall was unconstitutional and that the walls must come down. A year after, those documents vanished as if they never existed. Mr. Burnat was driving while protests were going on, and he got into a car accident which destroyed his camera and was hospitalized in Tel Aviv, Israel for two months. During his recovery and after his recovery, more and more protests and shootings occurred between Israelis and Palestinians until finally when the Palestinians were revolting and during the revolt, Mr. Burnat’s 5th camera was broken by a soldier by stomping on it and finally got repaired. Finally, after five years of conflicts and chaos, some peace returned when the walls were slowly demolished and Mr. Burnat’s family finally were able to begin to live with more peace than they previously had before.


Although this film is a documentary, the film looked like it was a movie, which had clear images, clear sound and clear English subtitles. Although this film is overall brutal, viewers learned that sometimes seeing violence can provide other nations and the United Nations to take action to prevent or to help resolve these brutal conflicts. Overall, this documentary taught international viewers that families are very prideful and would go any length to fight for their land, even though the army is killing and arresting people every day.

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