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’ is a compelling documentary about Musa Hadid, the mayor of Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the disputed territory of the West Bank. The film follows him as he goes about his daily business, visiting schools, preparing events, and meeting with other officials. He has his hands tied behind his back and the backdrop of violence between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths is always present, even in the centre of the city and not just at the walls and checkpoints on the periphery. It’s a candid look at a man trying to do his best in the most challenging of circumstances.

One of the things I liked about the film is that it offers a different perspective on a conflict that has had a lot of focus (with good reason), spending time on municipal management and less on the military and armed disputes. This may be an odd comment based on the premise, but this is actually quite a funny film, with as much time spent on bureaucratic absurdities that you’d find in any political or civil service setting (think ‘The Thick of It’, or ‘Veep’ for US readers), as on the very specific challenges Hadid has to doing his job.

Hadid comes across well, as a man trying to do his best whilst having to find balance across a wide range of viewpoints on how to progress the Palestinian cause (a conversation about a visit from Prince William is brilliant). The film is necessarily political and is only seen from one side, so if you’re looking for balance you won’t find it here, but this is a very good documentary that will further your understanding of a complex situation, whilst managing to entertain at the same time.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: David Osit

Starring: Musa Hadid

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