Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat’s family movies of village life under siege in the West Bank have been edited by Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi into an unforgettably personal account of political struggle. Doco Director Award, Sundance 2012.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
The political is utterly personal in this account of five years in the life of Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, his wife, four small children and their friends and neighbours in the village of Bil’in in the central West Bank. Burnat was a typical camera-wielding dad recording family occasions, but when his son Gibreel was born on the same day that Israelis began ripping up olive trees near his home, Burnat filmed both events. Five cameras were shot or smashed in the years that followed as he filmed his family growing while Israeli incursions escalated and the army thundered down on demonstrations by unarmed villagers. Providing countervailing evidence of Israeli opposition to the settlements, Israeli filmmaker and editor Guy Davidi teamed up with Burnat to shape his recordings into this film. An all-too-familiar battleground is rendered clear and present, framed by a father’s struggle to retain hope for a better life for his children. More effective grassroots filmmaking is hard to imagine. This powerful documentary has won key prizes at Sundance and Amsterdam. — BG