Anyone visiting the demonstrations against Israel’s wall in the West Bank village of Bilin over the last six years will have likely seen Emad Burnat and his camera, filming everything — anytime he was not in prison or in the hospital, at least.
Five Broken Cameras is the product of years’ worth of Burnat’s footage from these demonstrations. Co-directed by Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, the film takes the viewer through five years of the life of the village as the popular resistance against the wall begins.
The boldly titled feature-length documentary How We Can Solve The Palestinian Israeli Problem (which can be viewed online) is the work of Sami Moukaddem, a multi-talented Lebanese psychologist and musician living in Ireland.
Early on, Moukaddem speaks to the camera and says he has no experience as a filmmaker, and that he just wanted to make a film to explain the basic issues: “I simply got tired of western mainstream media presenting the Palestinian-Israeli issue as being complex,” he says. He then narrates from a first-person perspective throughout.
Maybe the Palestinians in East Jerusalem love being swamped by hordes of young liberal Israelis banging drums in their front yard. But we simply can’t know because the Israelis in the film are too are busy explaining their feelings.
Bacha’s earlier film Budrus was also problematic in similar ways, but at least you could learn about Palestinian stories and struggles, and at least it succeeded as a film in itself, even if it did overly pander to American liberal sensibilities. My Neighborhood has all the negative aspects of Budrus, magnified but with few of the redeeming features.