Mayor review – grappling with reality inside Ramallah city hall

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Ramallah’s leader Musa Hadid navigates diplomatic stresses and day-to-day problems in this love letter to the West Bank

Musa Hadid is the popular Palestinian mayor of Ramallah in the West Bank, and this thoughtful, sympathetic documentary tracks his stressful day-to-day working life – shown suddenly getting a lot more stressful in 2017 when President Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. Hadid feels strongly that this move emboldened Israel’s military to be more menacing in Ramallah, with soldiers marching into stores and demanding to see security camera footage on the grounds that there could be images of terrorists – and even doing the same at city hall.

The film lets you appreciate Hadid’s delicate and complex situation. He is often receiving high-profile international visitors and relishes the opportunity to show off the city he loves – the opening and closing sequences of this film, incidentally, almost feel like the introduction to Woody Allen’s Manhattan. One such VIP is Prince William, though some of Hadid’s colleagues are less than happy: “All the problems of our country come from Britain!” says one, referring to the 1923 Mandate.

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