Virtual Screening Room: Mayor

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2020 • dir David Osit w/Musa Hadid • 89 min

MAYOR is a real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine.

Revelling in the quotidian absurdity of everyday mayoral duties, MAYOR begins by sketching a portrait of the affable Hadid as he bounces around his cosmopolitan city chronically late for meetings. The gravity of his reality, however, is quickly brought home by the announcement that President Trump will officially acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there. Hadid and his staff know that this will inflame tensions in the occupied territories and, soon enough, protests are breaking out around the city and the Israeli army is making incursions into its heart. As Hadid and his team try to assess the situation with limited tools and resources, MAYOR bounces from political tragicomedy with echoes of Armando Iannucci (Veep) to a gripping you-are-there thriller and back again. One thing that director/cinematographer David Osit makes abundantly clear is the absolute unflappability of Hadid – whether facing down an inconvenient but insistent lunch invitation or Israeli troops on the doorstep of city hall.

Rich with detailed observation and a surprising amount of humor, MAYOR offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?

“‘Mayor’ offers a striking new perspective on that struggle, with a personal on-the-ground quality matched by grand tonal ambitions that makes it the best of its subgenre.”
– Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“MAYOR is an astounding and enthralling film… filled with a delicate blend of dark humour and unflinching honesty.”
– Courtney Small, Cinema Axis

“Subtly electrifying… deeply affecting. A movie full of vitalising, delicate observations.”
– Robert Greene, Sight & Sound