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1. Mayor; movie review

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Cert 12
89 mins
BBFC advice: Contains infrequent strong language, moderate threat, violence

Ramallah is a city of just 40,000 - smaller than the untrumpeted town in the English Midlands where I live - and yet it is known all over the world as a symbol of struggle.
The administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority, it lies just ten miles from Jerusalem and 17 miles from Bethlehem.
In the heart of the West Bank, it is consistently the focus of tension between the occupying Israelis and the Palestinian people who are hemmed in by a wall which their neighbours built.
Mrs W and I have seen many documentaries about the conflict in Palestine but this one, produced and directed by David Osit has a new angle because it focuses on one man who is trying to make a difference.
Musa Hadid has little power as Christian mayor of Ramallah but he takes what he has and gently but firmly cajoles people to his way of thinking.
He is candid about the Israelis and is enraged by the plight of the Palestinians but he demands that they are allowed to maintain their dignity.
Therefore, because his citizens may never be able to travel more than a few miles from their homes, he is determined that they should be proud of the place they live.
Osit follows Hadid during a year which begins with Christmas celebrations and ends with the opening of a fountain whose waters and lights change to music.
His immediate goals are to make sure that the municipality can deliver the best services possible to people.
In scenes sometimes reminiscent of a low-key In The Thick Of It, he calmly slaps down some of the wilder suggestions of his colleagues - particularly a marketing guru who appears obsessed with city's brand.
Sure, he is keen to attract tourists but also wants to repave the payments.
Hadid is presented as a good bloke who is often left powerless to the circumstances around him.
This is particularly evident during an incursion of Israeli soldiers into Ramallah. He maintains his unflappability as they seem on the cusp of entering city hall while firing tear gas at journalists and outraged citizens.
How long can the persecution of a people exist like this?
That is a question high on Hadid's mind with his ultimate mission - to end the occupation of Palestine and bring freedom to its people.
In the meantime, he should be commended for trying to give them as good a life as possible.
We were pleased that Osit offered this new dimension to a sad decades-long story and we warmed to the Mayor.

Reasons to watch: A very different slant on the Palestine question
Reasons to avoid: Background knowledge is needed

Laughs: A couple of chuckles
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8/10

Did you know? The stone industry is the largest sector of the Palestinian economy. There are over 650 stone production sites in the West Bank, 138 of which are in Beit Fajjar. Quarried stones are cut int a range of pink, golden, sand, and off-white tiles and bricks which are known as Jerusalem stone. A significant portion of these stones are exported to Israel, Jordan, Europe, and North America.

The final word. David Osit: "I wanted to make a film that shifts the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict away from the debate of who-deserves-what, or who is right or wrong, by telling the story of a small-town mayor dealing with small-town problems amid a military occupation of his city. We are living in an era when discussing the rights and humanity of Palestinians has been written into legislation in ​several countries​ as an act of hate against another nation of people. Very quietly and obliquely, Mayor challenges the logic of this assertion."

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