Film: AIFAV Fest Reviews: Leviathan and 5 Broken Cameras

By Will Ashton |


In my second round of film festival coverage are two documentaries, one focusing on the lives of a commercial fishing industry in the North Atlantic, while the other shows the troubles of a Palestinian nonviolent resistance to the Islamic Army.

Leviathan | Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel | Not Rated

Leviathan is a movie that I admired more than I actually liked.

In depicting the day-to-day struggles and lives of a crew of a commercial fishing industry sailboat, there are certainly some captivating shots in this film. In particular, the film’s opening P.O.V. shots are some of the most captivating I’ve seen from a documentary in a while. Yet, as the film continued, the question remained: So, what’s the point? And, ultimately, I don’t believe the film had one.

Directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel have, no doubt, captured some awe in their unusual hand-camera angles. But, without a message, central focus, or a driving narrative, what good does it do to capture all this great footage?

It’s a shame that these filmmakers couldn’t find one on their adventures at sea. Because if they were able to find one, they could have truly have had a great and groundbreaking documentary on their hands. As it stands, though, it’s just a unique, one-of-a-kind experience that sadly leaves you empty.

5-broken-cameras-35 Broken Cameras | Directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi | Not Rated
RATING: 3.5/5

Never doubt the power of first-person filmmaking.

Despite the over-flux of found footage movies dumped into cinemas every year, there is an undeniable captivation with telling your story from your main character’s point-of-view. This power is caught in the documentary 5 Broken Cameras. But what makes it even more powerful is that everything on screen is true.

In his years-long journey to videotape the Palestinian resistance to the Islamic army, Emad Burnant and his co-director Guy Davidi have captured some truly incredible and harrowing footage of their daily struggle right in the middle of the action. But what separates this from Leviathan is that everything seen on screen has a point-a driving focus- behind it, thereby making everything we see all the more compelling.

Using his five video cameras, all of which get destroyed in various Islamic army soldiers throughout their protests, Emad finds an unique and visual metaphor for the progression found by himself, his family, and his various protestors. Not everything you see is very pretty, but nothing that is happening is ever pretty either. But the movie is always engaging, thrilling, and haunting.


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