5-broken-cameras-mar-27thBurnat bought his camera to record his new-born son’s early life, but used it also to record events in his village in the occupied West Bank, when a wall was built to separate the Palestinians from the new Israeli settlement. There are peaceful protests to highlight the loss of their land and livelihood, the film following the sometimes harrowing events that follow. “5 cameras” were broken in the violence. “It is of course a one-sided film, but a powerful personal testimony: the kind of material that never makes the nightly news” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (Cert 15)
Dirs: Emad Burnat/Guy Davidi 94 mins Palestine/ Israel/ Fra. 2011

Programme Notes

5 Broken Cameras
Palestine/ Israel/ France/Netherlands, 2011, 94 mins, Cert 15

This documentary follows Palestinian villager Emad Burnat (Keywords (2010)) as he invests in a video camera to film his fourth child, Gibreel. However, in his village of Bil’in, a barrier is being resurrected to separate the villagers. Therefore, with his camera, he begins filming the nonviolent resistance to this barrier, which is being led by two of his best friends. 5 Broken Cameras follows what is happening during a 5-year period. As the title suggests, he goes through several cameras during the process, as they are damaged, but he continues to film what is happening in his village and in another village of the Palestinian region of Ramallah and al-Bireh, Nil’in. He even films what is occurring during these protests in Tel Aviv-Yafo, a village in the Tel Aviv region of Israel.

5 Broken Cameras was nominated at the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Documentary (it lost out to Searching for Sugar Man (2012)). The film did really well at various film festivals around the world, including winning an International Emmy Award. It even earned a Van Leer Group Foundation Award, for Best Israeli Documentary, at the 2012 Jerusalem Film Festival, in which the jury stated this was “a rare collaboration between two filmmakers who found one voice and delivered it with passion and force.”

Narrator – Emad Burnat
Emad’s Wife – Soraya Burnat
Emad’s Sons – Mohammed Burnat, Yasin Burnat, Taky-Adin Burnat, Gibreel Burnat
Protester (as Phil) – Bassem Abu-Rahma

Directors – Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Screenplay – Guy Davidi
Cinematography – Emad Burnat
Music – Le Trio Joubran
Sound Designer – Amélie Canini
Editors – Guy Davidi, Véronique Lagoarde-Ségot
Producer – Emad Burnat, Christine Camdessus, Guy Davidi, Serge Gordey

“A captivating portrait of the frailty and the failures of humanity.” – Mike Scott, New Orleans Times-Picayune

“A hugely powerful, moving study of a small village’s stand against overwhelming state power. Despite all the suffering and injustice, the final message is one of optimism that feels neither facile nor tacked-on.” – Philip Kemp, Total Film

5 Broken Cameras deserves to be appreciated for the lyrical delicacy of his voice and the precision of his eye. That it is almost possible to look at the film this way – to foresee a time when it might be understood, above all, as a film – may be the only concrete hope Mr. Burnat and Mr. Davidi have to offer.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

to be shown with

Kostnice (The Ossuary)
Czechoslovakia 1970 10 minutes, 1970, Dir: Jan Švankmajer Cert 15)

A tour guide takes a group of schoolchildren around the famous Sedlec Ossuary, with its thousands of skeletons of victims of the Black Death. With a score featuring a jazzy rendition of Jacques Prévert’s poem ‘Pour faire le portrait d’un oiseau’. A black and white ‘horror documentary’ written and directed by the acclaimed Jan Švankmajer.



“Lively, with creative use of a small amount of material”

“A great experimental documentary, although all those montages of skulls on the big screen was something of a ‘trippy’ experience.”

“Fascinating but the flashing images were painful.”

“Very interesting and what an exhibition!”

“Strange but remarkable”

“I quite liked the officious lady guide but found the camera-work and editing really annoying.”

“Very annoying camera-work”

“This film gave me headache!”

“Didn’t like it.”

“We’ve had this film before!” [We know]

5 BROKEN CAMERAS (feature)

“Excellent double bill – feature was exemplary film journalism.”

“One of the best documentaries I can recall.”

“More like this and I’d come more often!”

“Very moving presentation of peaceful resistance”

“A moving and insightful film”

“A message of hope for continuing NON-violent protest”

“So little hope – and yet they have to hope, while their land gets less and less. Who paid for the Israeli weapons – USA or Britain? I hope Gibreel come through – and his village Bil’in.”

“Poor Palestinians. How can any civilised country treat people like that?”

“Showed how people value their land and what they have to do to prevent it being occupied.”

“A difficult and upsetting film, the nearest I’ve been to feeling in the midst of it. How sad to see children having to witness the violence.”

“Incredible but just so depressing”

“These were truly shocking events. It was extra-ordinary to have them captured on film and to have some context to it all.”

“Determination against all odds – or what!”

“Brave, impressive, depressing – but I couldn’t see how some of it got filmed.”

“When the aftermath happened, we were in Jerusalem and experienced there at first hand the strong feelings about Gaza and the West Bank.”

“A noteworthy artefact of world cinema”

“A touch contrived in places but gave a shocking immediacy to a familiar news story.”

“Important to document what happened but not a good film”

“Was not happy about using children in these propaganda films. Also, the film appeared to be neither feature nor documentary. There were too many cameras – far more than five!”

“Where were all the women?”


A:28, B:7, C:4, D:0, E:0 to give 90%