Five Broken Cameras

A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

Global Perspectives, Peace & Conflicts

Download Study Guide

About the Film

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 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. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and—from the wreckage of five broken cameras—two filmmakers create this film.

Film in Context

Emad lives in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, two miles from the “Green Line” (the line used to designate the border between Israel and surrounding territories). His village, called Bil’in, becomes divided by a barrier put in place by the Israeli authorities. Emad, already a recreational camera person and town documentarian, turns the camera on this barrier and the protests organized by his fellow villagers. The film gives the viewer a first-hand account of the point of view of the citizens of Bil’in and allows for many questions about conflict, occupation, protest and resilience.