Monday, November 16, 2020

DOC NYC Spotlight: Mayor

I’m excited to be covering DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, which presents its eleventh year, this time in a mostly online format, from November 11th-19th.

Directed by David Osit
Ticket Information

There are many stories and perspectives that can be portrayed about the most controversial place in the Middle East. The conflicted lands have strong roots for many people, and it is often a charged subject with plenty of passion behind it for both filmmakers and those interviewed about circumstances that drive and affect their daily lives. People can make statements and arguments in an attempt to make their positions known, but what is most valuable is to truly see and understand what they experience, which can offer a tremendous amount of information about why they feel and act the way they do.

Musa Hadid is the mayor of Ramallah, a prominent city in Palestine. Hadid wears many hats as he navigates the various issues facing his city, ranging from dealing with the reality of being under Israeli occupation and preparations for high-profile Christmas celebrations. As he manages the public relations campaign to brand the mostly Christian city, Hadid sees progress deterred by factors that are out of his control, including the announcement by the American government that it will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an event that is sure to have implications for nearby Ramallah.

This film succeeds most because it shows Hadid and his constituents where they are, coming together for meetings dressed in suits and dealing with both expected and unexpected bureaucratic obstacles to achieve what they believe will better their lives. Hadid is an honest, open leader who freely shares his opinions, which include a firm belief that his city should be part of a Palestinian nation and not subject to Israeli rule. Making the most of important state visits, like that of Prince William, is a significant aim since Hadid knows that they, like this film, can help broadcast its message to a wide audience.

As with any public servant, Hadid’s job is largely a thankless one since he is inevitably blamed for much of what goes wrong in his city even if he bears no responsibility. The respect the residents of his city feel for him is evident in the warm greetings he receives while walking on the street and the concerned calls he gets from people when his safety is in doubt. This film doesn’t purport to solve any crisis or provide many answers, but it is a poignant and involving portrait of a man who embodies the passion of the city he serves.


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