Skip to content Skip to navigation

5 Broken Cameras discussion guide and resources

5 Broken Cameras discussion guide and resources

Photo: AFSC

This resource guide is intended to help facilitate discussion about the film “5 Broken Cameras” by social action groups, classes, and other interested parties. We hope that discussion of this important film becomes a vehicle for developing a greater understanding of the issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and nonviolent resistance in Palestine.  

The guide is divided into four sections which can be used together or separately. The first section provides a brief summary of the film and background and context information about the village of Bilin. The second section provides background information on Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israel’s occupation. Section three includes sample questions which can be used to guide discussions about the film and information about resources that interested individuals and groups can use to find out more about the situation in Bil’in, in Israel and Palestine, and about actions they can support that will help bring change. The final section is a case study developed based on interviews conducted by AFSC in Bil’in. 

About 5 Broken Cameras

The first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for a best Documentary Feature Academy Award, the critically-acclaimed 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. Shot by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel, the film was co-directed by Burnat and Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker. Structured in chapters around the destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village upheaval. As the years pass in front of the camera, we witness Gibreel grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess.  Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify and lives are lost in this cinematic diary and unparalleled record of life in the West Bank. 5 Broken Cameras is a Palestinian-Israeli-French co-production.

We hope people will put aside pre-judgments and approach the film with fresh eyes. We think it is easy to shut down when watching a film that deals with such pain and controversy, and reduce the experience to a series of binaries: right and wrong, good and bad, Palestinian and Israeli. We urge viewers to set aside these oversimplifications to fully embrace the complexity, beauty, and emotion of the circumstance.

-Personal statement from Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat, co-directors of “5 Broken Cameras”