Friday, December 4, 2020

Mayor Review: A Look At The Daily Life of A Charismatic and Honest Palestinian Mayor

Release date: December 4, 2020
Running time: 89 minutes
Director: David Osit
Starring: Musa Hadid

A look at the life of Musa Hadid, the charismatic mayor of Palestinian city Ramallah, who aspires to lead the city into the future.

Mayor has a simple, understated style that I did not expect.  The film focuses on Hadid and his daily life.  I was expecting something far more political about the occupation of Palestine by Israel or the current dispute, but the beauty of this film is that all of that is conveyed without needing to force the viewer to listen.  You see Hadid going about his daily life, and the difficulties of managing the city and the overall political tension just manifests without needing to call attention to it.  And Hadid's daily life seems very hectic, from dealing with infrastructure questions, marketing the city of Ramallah, meeting with dignitaries from various countries, dealing with international incidents, and putting out literal fires, Hadid's day is hectic and full.  And in this you get to experience the difficulties of a mayor of any major city, but also the unique challenges that occur in this city that is part of a state in limbo.

And Hadid is a fascinating character to watch.  He is so humble, charismatic, caring, and confident that you can't not appreciate everything he is doing for this city.  He makes political statements but is measured in how he does it.  He is a strong leader but doesn't feel the need to be strong man, and you can see how much he genuinely loves his job and the city that he is trying to modernize and give legitimacy to.  And another thing that seems unique about Hadid is that the documentary allows you to watch a politician go about his daily life while sharing insights that are honest and genuine.  Although I am sure that some parts were cut, generally it feels like the documentary allows Hadid to express himself openly and with a candor that we don't normally see in American politics.  He says things that are on his mind and come from his own genuine feelings and evaluation of the facts and overall situation; and you get to see the types of decisions that go on his shoulders and how those can weigh on him.  

And finally, this film does give you insights into the overall Israel - Palestine conflict, without overtly shoving them in your face. There are scenes that show what can happen in Ramallah at the drop of a hat, and some of the issues with being a free city in a pseudo-state.  Again, these are presented very factually and without much tilt, and this documentary gives you a special look into this very complicated issue, letting you experience some of the hardships and humiliations first hand.  It is a wonderful and sobering look at this nuanced conflict.  

Mayor follows the day-to-day life of a charismatic, passionate, and refreshingly open politician navigating some of the unique challenges of managing a Palestinian city striving for modernization and legitimacy.

Watch it.

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Mayor is playing in virtual cinemas across the country.  For more information and for showtimes click here.  

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