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Oscar-nominated documentaries capture history

February 15, 2013 • Entertainment


This undated publicity photo released by Kino Lorber, Inc. shows Adeeb and Phil participating in a protest against the Israeli settlements in a scene from the documentary film, “5 Broken Cameras,” co-directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi. (AP Photo/Kino Lorber, Inc.)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Oscar-nominated features “5 Broken Cameras” and “How to Survive a Plague” represent documentaries in the truest, purest form of the word: They capture a spark, a moment in history, and they make us feel as if we were there, too.

Both films were shot by regular people who happened to be witnessing an uprising. They’re by amateur photographers who had the foresight to record everything — long before such a practice became the norm with the advent of the iPhone and YouTube — from the mundane moments of their daily lives to scenes of violence, upheaval, death and eventually some sort of victory.

They’re very different films from very different directors on very different topics. “5 Broken Cameras” is a collaboration between Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat and Israeli director Guy Davidi featuring years of footage Burnat shot in his occupied village of Bil’in, a place that became a sort of symbol for nonviolent resistance. Each of the five cameras was destroyed in the midst of protests or gunfire; one still has a bullet lodged in the lens. But it also includes daily events in the life of this husband and father of four; he actually bought the first camera in 2005 for the reason so many parents do, to record the first smiles and steps of his youngest son, Gibreel.

“Plague” is a collection of archival footage from the late 1980s and early ’90s, as members of the Login to read more

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