Mayor

Mayor

Avoids all “middle east conflict documentary” clichés and emerges as a little gem. First of all Mayor Musa himself is just such a likeable and good-hearted and funny person, he’s like a Palestinian Jimmy Stewart. Every small act of heroism he commits - be it letting someone getting tear gassed by the IDF into the municipal building, Christening a new fountain in the old town, or just calling Trump a clown - elicits a smile. Osit wisely chooses a non-intrusive, fly-on-the-wall approach, which is great not just for getting us acquainted but with the mayor but with the strange world of Ramallah too. With its billboards and trendily dressed young people, Ramallah feels immediately like any other city you’ve been to, which makes it way eerier when you see Israeli troops firing into the street or posting up in front of Christmas tree displays. The presence of American businesses such as KFC and Starbucks make it even more uncanny - they’re more than happy to take these peoples’ money but let them languish under an occupation that doesn’t even allow them to treat their own sewage. It’s a bizarre in-between space of being a modernized city and an occupied one. To watch Musa struggle with the Iannucci-like foibles of bureaucracy may be funny but it’s undercut by the suspense that the autonomy of his city is on a tightrope.

Rob liked this review