As an Israeli and a Palestinian, we knew we would be criticized for making a film together even before we began. Indeed, the differences in our cultural backgrounds, life experience, access to the outside world, and privileges afforded us presented immediately and were unavoidable. By necessity, we learned to use these complications to our benefit.
After finally resolving to move forward on the project, we decided that making a personal and intimate film was the only way for it to feel new and genuine. For Emad, this was not an easy decision – the exposure may be flattering, but it carries significant risk. Ultimately, we decided that closely following Emad’s story was worth the peril. Guy’s role in the film is a bit more ambiguous –he is a kind of Cyrano de Bergerac, not directly involved, but incapable of complete objectivity. While his presence is palpable, it remains subservient to the narrative.
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.
We made 5 Broken Cameras to inspire people in their own lives, beyond the scope of political discourse. Although politics are an inherent foundation of the film, we made sincere attempts to challenge our own biases, setting aside cliché and ideological traps. In the end, we have opened our hearts to viewers, and hope they will respond in kind.
—Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, Co-Directors