Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: David Osit
Writer: David Osit
Cast: Musa Hadid
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 10/31/20
Opens: December 2, 2020
It’s too bad our constitution does not allow a naturalized citizen to run for President. If it did, I would recommend that we recruit Musa Hadid, the mayor of Ramallah (the city which is the “temporary” capital of Palestine), give him citizenship, and let him run in 2024. He has no ego. When he patrols his city, he needs no security. Little kids come up to him and shake his hand. As a civil engineer, he believes in building—not walls, but beautiful structures to make his town livable, handsome enough to bring in tourists who may now be afraid to go there. While he is obviously critical of the Israeli occupation, soldiers who are there to guard the Jewish settlements that surround the place, he, unlike our chief executive, seeks out advice on everything from how to remove the sewage that sometimes seeps into the city (he blames the settlers), to how to give the city a branding.
Ramallah already has a slogan found in the main section along with the big, beautiful City Hall, similar to our letters for Hollywood. It’s WeRamallah. Get it? From what the movie shows, there may be some tourists there, some women wearing shorts, enjoying the big, lit-up Christmas tree, albeit minus the snow.
Where did all the money come from that allowed mayor Musa to beautiful the city? No mention at all in this documentary, but the Wikipedia article on Ramallah, which I recommend, indicates only that it comes from “Western donors.” I’d have guessed Qatar, which financed the big statue in the center of Tirana, Albania.
The mayor goes through the usual list of complaints about the Israeli occupation, including the fact that the Ramallah Arabs must use the Israeli shekel as the medium of exchange; that the settlements are “choking” the city; that they cannot even visit the sea; that Trump named Jerusalem the capital of Israel though the Palestinians want at least the Eastern part of the holy city.
The mayor even took a risk standing by a window in a darkened room watching Israeli soldiers tear-gassing a crowd of protesters—which Musa believes is just another attempt to humiliate his people. The film was shot during the 2017 holiday season and is directed by Tuckahoe, New York resident David Osit, who co-directed “Thank You for Playing”about a video game that tells the story of a young son battling with cancer.
Good luck to Musa Hadid and to Ramallah. Ultimately the city will gain its independence—it’s inevitable, isn’t it—and perhaps the mayor can rise to the Prime Ministership.
89 minutes. © 2020 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – B
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B