5 Broken Cameras (2012) - Movie Review for History Teachers
 
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5 Broken Cameras
Educative Value: 5/10

We like this film.
 
Release date: 2012 (U.S.)
Reviewer: Ms. Fox
Length: 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes)
 
Age Appropriateness Rating: This documentary film is not rated in the United States.  It contains scenes of violence (actual footage shot in Israel-Palestine), but nothing unsafe for a mature high school student to watch.  It is safe for classroom viewing, but students should be aware that they will be witnessing firsthand accounts, including scenes of assault and death.
 
Creators and Stars: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi, Kino Lorber Incorporated
 
Co-director Emad Burnat with his five broken cameras.
Emad's son Gibreel looks over at the Israeli settlements.
Adeeb & Phil participate in a protest against the Israeli settlements.
Emad's mother pleads with an Israeli soldier to release her son Khaled after he was arrested.
Emad's mother pleads with an Israeli soldier to release her son Khaled after he was arrested.
 
Co-director Emad Burnat with his family outside their home.
Co-directors Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat.
 
Historical Accuracy: "Five Broken Cameras" is a documentary film comprised of footage shot in and around the villages of Bil'in and Nil'in in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, near the Israeli border.  The filming was done over approximately five years by Palestinian cameraman Emad Burnat with the assistance of Israeli activist Guy Davidi.
 
Review: "Five Broken Cameras" follows two parallel storylines--the birth and young life of Emad Burnat's fourth son, Gibreel, and the battle to keep the olive groves used by the villagers of Bil'in on the Palestinian side of the security fence being built.  Unable to escape the violence that surrounds him, young Gibreel speaks the language of military weaponry and Palestinian nationalism from his first words.  The villagers of Bil'in protest (with international support) to retain their olive groves.  After years of struggle, including personal tragedies and a court order that went unfollowed, the residents of Bil'in finally succeed in having the security fence relocated (although not in a way that gives access to land upon which Israeli settlers have already built housing).

Students will need at least a brief introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before viewing this film, including information on why and where security walls have been built along the borders.
 
Miscellaneous: Following are some viewing/review questions for students.

1. Describe how each of Emad Burnat's cameras is destroyed.
2. Describe what happens to the following people over the course of the film: Adeeb, Phil, Riyad, Daba, and Emad.
3. What do Israeli settlers initially place on Palestinian land in order to claim it?
4. What reasons are there for arresting the children of Bil'in?
5. What type of structure is it illegal for the Israeli army to destroy?
6. Why do you suppose that the court order goes unimplemented for so long?
7. How might this conflict have been avoided?
8. Has this film changed or reaffirmed your opinion on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?  Explain.
9. Do you believe that this documentary film is biased or unbiased?  Explain.
10. Imagine that you are Gibreel, growing up as a firsthand witness to these events.  How might you view the conflict?  Explain.
 
"5 Broken Cameras" Movie Review Publication Date for Citation Purposes: May 17, 2012