Budrus is definitely an inspiring and motivating movie that clearly demonstrates what people can really do under the influence of a leader that renounces violence and manages to unite people that in fact, had nothing to split. It is amazing and note-worthy how a need for fairness can become an entire movement that strives for just, in a world where barriers are built to keep people apart, be it Palestinians from Israelis, to black and white people, to Christian and Muslims and anything else in between.
Like any other documentary, the camera in Budrus has indeed been used to explore and analyze events and people and make people start questioning their own perceptions of what reality is. The footage seems like the absolute truth to all people watching Budrus, without knowing much about the bare facts or background story. Budrus also bears some resemblance to other documentaries, like the academy-award nominated documentary called 5 Broken Cameras, where extensive narrative, strong emotional elements, and actual scenes from what the story revolves around are used.
Julia Bacha, the writer and director of the movie, wanted to demonstrate much more than the confrontations of people living in a Palestinian village called Budrus, back in 2003-2004, over the construction of a security fence that would keep people away from a land of 3,000 olive trees that they had been taking care of for many years. Like Make Hale (2010) from the New York Times writes, Bacha ‘’keeps the larger and more intractable issues in the background”.
Bacha, starts the documentary by showing unarmed Palestinian women claiming their rights on their land, putting their bodies in front of bulldozers that have come to build the wall. At this point, Bacha uses two other synonyms to describe the wall, those of ‘fence’ and ‘barrier’, probably, in an attempt to escalate people’s awareness gradually; yet, from the beginning of the movie.
Then, Ayed Morrar, the mayor, together with his daughter, Iltezam, are shown succeeding in stalling the wall-building process and the media takes on, making this situation a more complex issue (Hale). Palestinians were seen as people in need, which made Israelis wanted to join the Palestinians to their non-violent protest. It was a human to human cry for help and many have responded. However, when the Israeli activists joined the Palestinians campaign to save their land, the Palestinian politicians and Israeli army were also involved (Hale), which would definitely make things tougher, as blood-free non-violent protests were hard to achieve. Which is exactly what happened at some point of the documentary, when Palestinians were throwing stones and Israeli army begun shooting at people.
Nevertheless, the core essence of the entire documentary could be summarized in the words of an Israeli activist that came rushing down to help his fellow Palestinians that needed his help. This activist said that “Nothing scares the army than non-violent opposition’’. The campaign of civil disobedience that started from a handful of people, had quickly become a national matter that went beyond the opposition to construct a wall of not.
What was really going on in Budrus is remarkable. People had managed to grab on a universal concept that made them fighting for their rights without wielding a gun or promoting violence in any way. Maybe, that is what made people of both Palestinian and Israeli land unite. Another Islaeli activist also said that she saw all people as humans (Budrus), despite their race or background, which is another great truth that tells the world that the only key to political and existential survival is one: peaceful campaigns (Homeaday).
An interesting post in Forbes magazine (2013) dealing with the case study of Budrus, mentions that the Bacha identified the huge power she had in her hands when using a storytelling medium, like the camera and the documentary she directed. With her documentary she allowed people to suspend disbelief and make them see way past their traditional political viewpoints. The same post continues by referring to Budrus’ effect that “takes viewers beyond the platitudes that often dominate discourse on controversial issues, and allows them to examine the implications of a particular topic on a human scale” (Forbes).
Budrus is a documentary that tries to build bridges for people to cross rather than construct barriers and walls to part them, which leaves the viewer wanting to see behind the colour of the skin, race, political concepts and other factors that have come to label people and put tags on them. The mayor’s words were so true: no one can lead a society while sitting in an office. A leader has to stand and join the very people he wants to lead (Just Vision).
While watching Budrus, It becomes obvious that humans can move mountains if only they want to. And the best way to do it is through a non-violent campaign, because violence leads to more violence, so any goal gets blood-painted. People of the Palestinian village has started a movement that has proven how people can be alike, despite their differences, if any.
Bacha, Julia (2009). “Budrus”. Movie. Web. Nov.18, 2013 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJkPVAcXq1Y>
Hale, Mike (2010). “Budrus (2009): A Study in Middle East Nonviolence”. The New York Times. Web. Nov. 18, 201. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/movies/08budrus.html?_r=0>
Homeaday, Ann (2010). “Movie review: 'Budrus,' redefining the cinematic hero”. The Washington Post. Web. Nov. 18, 2013. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/28/AR2010102806877.html> >
n.a. (2013). “Shifting Narratives Through Documentary Film: A Case Study of 'Budrus'”. Forbes Magazine. Web. Nov. 18, 2013 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/skollworldforum/2013/04/11/shifting-narratives-through-documentary-film-a-case-study-of-budrus/>
Just Vision Team (n.d). “A just vision film discussion Guide”. Web. Nov. 18, 2013 <http://www.justvision.org/sites/justvision.org/files/Budrus%20Discussion%20Guide.pdf>