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A journey through grief & self discovery

  • Writer's pictureChristine Angelique

Trading Self-Care for Community Care

Updated: Feb 29

Kinship Film Club - 5 Broken Cameras Screening

Grief can be very isolating. It's not because I haven’t had friends or family reach out, but sometimes my own emotions are so loud, it’s hard to hear anything else. I call this, "My Grief Bubble"- when I wallow in my own sadness and hopelessness for too long.

I started this blog with the hope of leaving my grief bubble to make better moments for myself, so my time there would become less frequent. Though this blog was started as a part of a self-love journey, this week I needed a break from myself. I’ve discovered that getting outside of myself to experience someone else's perspective is a great way to prevent self-inflicted isolation.

I got the chance to do just that in such a healing, and heartbreaking sort of way. My amazing friend Jana, along with her friend Olivia, created Kinship Film Club. It’s a beautiful space for creatives, cultural workers, organizers, and anyone interested to come together for a film screening with the intention of creating transnational solidarity with people worldwide fighting for justice and freedom. I had the honor of attending a screening of the award-winning film, 5 Broken Cameras. This is a documentary with live footage from the frontlines of the Palestine and Israeli conflict from a brave filmmaker and journalist, Emad Burnat.

I had been feeling guilty for turning away from world news, and the Palestine-Israeli conflict. My own world has been feeling so dark, I didn’t want to let any more darkness in. Honestly, I think that's justified when you’re grieving, or dealing with your own mental health. Do what you can do, and don’t do what you can't. But since I’ve recently been finding ways to rejoin the world, and I have always been drawn to learning about different cultures and peoples' way of living (I have a minor in Anthropology), I knew I wanted to know what was going on.

First, I just have to say, The Kinship Club was such a rejuvenating and loving space to be in. We met at Reparations Club, a Black-owned, woman-owned bookstore. (Which in itself is an awesome place!) People mixed and mingled, and formed a delicious pile of sweets and treats before the night started. It was uplifting to be a part of such a diverse group of people coming together for a common goal: To learn more about the Free Palestine movement, to have a place to express our thoughts, and to brainstorm ways we can make an impact, and help where help is needed.

The night started with a grounding exercise from the owners of Lé Trois Apothecary, a spiritual wellness company honoring ancient rituals with incense and intentions. We grounded ourselves with a breathing exercise, and a smoke/aroma cleaning ritual. I was already getting teary-eyed just from doing the grounding exercise because I was still holding a lot of tension from my last missing-my-mom crying session the night prior. It felt good to release some of that heaviness, so I could truly be present.

“We’re often mindful of our self-care, but tonight we’re focusing on community care.”

I forget who said this quote, which I paraphrased from memory, but it stuck with me. This was exactly what I needed to get out of my isolating grief bubble- a community care night. As I continue this grief journey, I keep learning that I am not alone. So many are grieving. So many need care. So many need a community to be a part of because as much as I would like to do it alone, I can't. You really do need a community to help you get through hard times.

After the grounding exercise, we screened the film and took some time to journal our reflections and thoughts. Then, we had an open discussion. Before I get into my own thoughts of the film, I have to commend Jana and Olivia for the space they created. Hearing people’s stories on what brought them there tonight, and how they felt about humanity, solidarity, and filmmaking was so enlightening. It was also refreshing to know there are still people who care, and who can share their ideas in a loving, safe and vulnerable way.

My initial reaction to 5 Broken Cameras was just anger and sadness. The footage we watched was not censored, not fiction. It was real. These people and their lives are real, and it made me angry and sad that they have to fight for their existence, their freedom. They have to fight to not be forgotten. It made me angry seeing their peaceful protests met with chaotic violence. It made me think of the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movement. It made me sad to see those who died fighting for their freedom, survivors' spirits dulling as they continue to push on, and children being taken from their homes, killed.

You might be thinking, “Christine, I’m not sure this was the best thing for you since you’re trying to get out of depression.” Yeah, I had that thought before I came, but something this film does well is show joy in the midst of pain. It showed birthday celebrations and family outings. It showed people’s resilience and bravery. It showed how they allowed themselves the time they needed to grieve, and heal from both physical and emotional wounds. It showed how uplifting the sense of community and togetherness can be. Yes, most of the footage was hard to watch and heartbreaking, but seeing their love for each other, communal support, and the fire in their souls that cried out for change was unbelievable. It made me feel like I can also learn how to have joy in the midst of my pain, and lean on my community in times of need. That once my tears stop, I can pick myself back up and fight another day. This film also helped me count my blessings, and appreciate the privilege I do have by living in America. (Even though the Black American experience ain't that great, but that's a topic for another blog.)

"Healing is a challenge in life. It's a victim's sole obligation. By healing, you resist oppression. But when I'm hurt over and over again, I forget the wounds that rule my life. Forgotten wounds can't be healed. So I film to heal. I know they may knock at my door at any moment. But I'll just keep filming. It helps me confront life. And survive." - Emad Burnat

Chills. What a powerful statement.

Honestly, this film is going to sit with me for a while. It was a lot to process. I just know I am very grateful for Kinship Film Club for helping me get outside myself to care about someone else. Like the AFI film festival, this has also ignited my passion for filmmaking. I don’t just want to make films, "to make films". I want to use filmmaking to tell stories, stories the darkness of the world deems unimportant or nonexistent. I want to help tell stories that need to be told. I believe everyone should watch 5 Broken Cameras. Not only to gain some perspective on the Palestine experience, but also to acknowledge that their lives, their story matters and will not be forgotten.

For more information about Los Angeles' Kinship Film Club, and its founders, check out their Instagram pages:

If you would like to support the businesses that helped sponsor this event, check out the links below:

Lé Trois Apothecary:

Reparations Club:

For more information about the film, 5 Broken Cameras, here is its IMDb page:

It's on Amazon Prime to rent/buy, and you can view it for free on Tubi.


Resources & Ways to Help:

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