PALESTINE: A surprisingly cinematic fly-on-the-wall view of the daily life - and epic struggles - of the Christian mayor of Ramallah.
Nick Holdsworth
Nick Holdsworth
Our regular critic.
Published date: August 2, 2020

David Osit’s entertaining, at times funny, but essentially serious documentary focus on Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, opens with a refreshingly normal vision of a popular city leader greeting locals as he makes his way around his patch fixing problems and encouraging cooperation.

When the curtain rises on the first act after this preamble – literally, in a magnificent long shot of the mayor standing at a big desk, as an automatic blind slowly rises up behind him to reveal a panoramic view of the park in front of Ramallah City Hall – we are given a glimpse of the stolidity and power of a man whose job is to run a major city successfully for a people without a country.

Musa Hadid-documentary-poster

Everyday life

Many documentaries – perhaps most – set in Palestine focus on the violence and humiliations of the Israeli occupation. It is not often that Palestinians are viewed through the lens of their everyday lives and governance. Images of stone-throwing youths and lethally armed heavily swaddled Israeli conscripts launching tear gas attacks, and worse, are ubiquitous. Osit does not …

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