David Osit

Fly-on-the-wall portrait of Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah. The witty, amiable Hadid does what he can to make life as good and dignified as possible for his citizens. But the Israeli occupation is never fully absent, and often rears its head. Thrilling, energetic, cliché-defying documentary.

‘How can you be so calm?’ someone asks Musa Hadid, mayor of Ramallah, the de facto capital of Palestine. The American president Trump has just announced the US will move its embassy to Jerusalem, sparking protests all over the West Bank. ‘It’s happening’, Hadid replies, ‘whether we freak out or not.’

His understated demeanour however doesn’t mean there’s anything flippant about Musa Hadid. In his charismatic way, he skilfully does what he can to keep the city running, despite not being able to take care of the most basic provisions on account of the Israeli occupation. We see him discussing city branding and lighting the city’s Christmas tree. The next moment he is hiding in city hall, besieged by the army after shots have been fired at Israeli settlements outside Ramallah. The next day, while the city is cleaning up the damage, Hadid is at his job again – visiting a school, discussing the size of its volleyball court and the best way to clean a school board. A both inspiring and painful look at an occupied city from within.


David Osit
Country of production
United States, United Kingdom
89 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English
World Sales