5 Broken Cameras

5 Broken Cameras, a film by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

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Early on in the film, Emad says, “I kept thinking what should I do? I had to believe that capturing these images will have some meaning.” There is no point during this film that as a viewer I wasn’t biting my nails and squirming in my chair. The images that Emad was capturing surrounding the Israeli – Bil’in conflict were horrific. The footage that came from the 5 broken cameras had, and still holds tremendous meaning.

With his first camera in hand, a project that initially began in 2005 to film the moments surrounding the birth and early childhood of his fourth son, Emad Burnat found himself on the front lines of the demonstrations protesting the barrier that was being built to separate his village of Bil’in from Israel.

Led by two of his best friends, the protestors were peacefully demonstrating their frustration in having lost 60% of their land to the building of the barrier. Emad was there to document it all. His bravery is apparent in the footage captured. One camera would break or be shot – and the next would be rolling within days. Throughout the film, his friends and his brothers are either shot or arrested. Some are even killed.

For the fact that Emad didn’t realize he would one day be making a film out of the events he was capturing, he wasn’t held back by any filmmaking “rules”. He just filmed because he loved to film and because he had hope that his footage would produce meaningful insight and important memories. He was the lens through which not only others in Palestine saw the struggle, but eventually the world would have eyes on.

5 Broken Cameras is remarkable visual essay that deserves much appreciation and is a must see.

“The only protection I can offer him (Gibreel, Emad’s youngest son) is allowing him to see everything with his own eyes, so he can confront just how vulnerable life is.” 

-Emad 

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Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man, a film by Malik Bendjelloul

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This true story is a filmmakers dream. This film is a dream that became a true story to tell.

Director Malik Bendjelloul was given a gift when he came across this story in South Africa back in 2006. It was what he did with that gift that was life changing for Rodriguez, those close to him and to the story, and all his past and future fans.

Bendjelloul crafts the beautiful and almost unbelievable tale of how a wildly talented and almost forgotten singer-songwritter is unearthed after decades of obscurity in this outstanding documentary. Thanks to two South African “super fans” and their dedication to finding out who Sixto Rodriguez really was, Bendjelloul was able to discover this story.

Bendjelloul recalls spending “every single cent and every single second of my life for four years to make this film”. Similarly, Rodriquez is compared by one of his bosses to a silk worm, in that he took raw materials and transformed them into something that wasn’t there before. Something beautiful and transcendent.

Both the artist and the filmmaker created something that represents possibility and triumph through the human spirit.

“Just because people are poor, or have little, doesn’t mean that their dreams aren’t big and their soul isn’t rich…” 

– Eva Rodriguez (oldest daughter) 

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