Saturday 3 November 2012

Five Broken Cameras

Emad Burnat bought a camera to record the birth of his youngest son. Living in Bil'in, a Palestinian village in the West Bank, he soon realised that his camera wouldn't just record family life and he immediately starting making documentary films of the crises around him.

Illegal Israeli settlements were encroaching on Bil'in and a huge barbed wire barrier was erected to keep the villagers from gaining access to their own olive trees on their own land. The villagers took a non-violent approach in their demonstrations against the Israeli forces, but had to face hugely violent responses from the Israeli military. The soldiers shot many civilians (including children), arrested many more (again including children) and, on at least one occasion, dressed up as Palestinians to infiltrate protesters and cause chaos.

The villagers were not cowed though and continued to demonstrate and win small victories such as negotiating limited access to their land to replant the trees that have been burned by settlers and the military. The trees, an integral part of the landscape and ecology of the area, are vital as a source of food and oil and as a symbol of hope.

This documentary was filmed on a series of five different cameras, each of which was damaged beyond repair. On at least one occasion, the camera probably saved Emad's life by catching the bullet that otherwise would probably have killed him, though he was very seriously injured and underwent a long period of medical treatment. This never stopped his determination to film.

The result is a brilliant, heart-breaking and shocking insight into life in the occupied West Bank, made all the more poignant by seeing Emad's young family growing up against the background of so much violence.

5 Broken Cameras is on at the Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh until Tuesday 6 November.

and my haiku today on Daily Haiku also features trees 

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.


eileeninmd said...

Great review, Juliet! thanks for sharing. Have a lovely weekend!

The Weaver of Grass said...

It is reviews like this that sometimes make me wish I lived nearer to where you live Juliet.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It is so hard to imagine raising a family amid that violence...and I am sure this film brings it home even more than reading about it. you are fortunate to live where you have access to such important films.. its hard for us to find anything like this here in Oregon and pretty much impossible in Florida. Sadly.

Ms Sparrow said...

I hope I can catch this film sometime. Killing residents and destroying trees is not the way to establish a country--even though that's what our original settlers did!

bunnits said...

Amazing that he survived. I can't imagine having to live under such conditions. Hoping to be able to see this film sometime.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

What a terrible, im├Ęportant, fundamenmtal subject you have touched here.
What I vividly also feel is that the Isreali army chiefs should be brought straight to La Havre and put under trial for crimes against humanity, in particular for the bombardment of Gaza in 2008 and many, many other times. The world shouldn't stop for a second signalling that.

Anonymous said...

Great blog post Juliet - so incredibly sad and seemingly hopeless a situation.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Sorry, for the mistake, I wanted to write La Hague hoping now that the spelling is correct!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Thanks for sharing this great review and shall look out for it when it comes here.
Hard to comprehend how some people have to live, and hope one day peace will reign.

Have a great week

Auntie Jane (It is official!) said...

CGP, thank you.