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COMMON PEOPLE: Mayor (David Osit, 2020)
2021-08-11/20:30 - 22:30€3
The cycle of documentary film screenings Common People initiated by Kaunas Artists’ House (KAH) and Kitas Kinas is back for the third outdoor cinema season! This time at Kaunas culture center terrace.
The screening of a film “Mayor” (dir. David Osit, 2020) will be held at Kaunas Culture Center terrace on August 11th 8:30 p.m. A real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah (the de facto Palestinian capital). Surrounded on all sides by Israeli settlements and soldiers, most people in Ramallah will never have the chance to travel more than a few miles outside their home, which is why Mayor Hadid is determined to make the city a beautiful and dignified place to live. 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?
Documentary, USA, UK, 2020, Arabic with English and Lithuanian subtitles for deaf or hard of hearing, 89 min.
Ken Loach once said that “a film isn’t a political movement – at best, it can add its voice to public outrage.” However, in the case of Palestine, the politics around its representation are entirely created by popular culture: cinema, television, news functioning as entertainment, all contribute to a Western narrative that defines Palestine through its victimhood – at best. Palestinian identity, for those abroad, becomes its lack of identity.
I wanted to make a film that shifts the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict away from intractible debate, and instead tell a 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.
The film also follows the dramatically underreported consequences of American foreign policy on a nation persistently denied autonomy and representation on the international stage. I set out to make a film about local government in the shadow of an occupation, and quickly found myself filming during one of the most traumatic times in Ramallah’s history – where even the small public space that Musa labors over becomes a symbol of resistance and identity by the end of the film. My goal was to break down the audience’s understanding of what a Middle Eastern city “should” look like within the first five minutes – Christmas celebrations, classical music, even an old Hollywood feel – and build a new framework of understanding for how that audience can relate to this part of the world.
David Osit is an Emmy Award-winning director, editor and composer. David is one of the directors of the feature documentary Thank You For Playing, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, broadcast on POV in 2016, and was nominated for three Emmy awards, winning for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. He also edited and produced Off Frame, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Berlinale in 2016. His first film, Building Babel, premiered at True/False in 2012. David is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents and the Sundance Nonfiction Director’s Lab.
After every film preview there will be discussions with various experts of different fields of interest. They will be announced soon.
Tickets and discounts: tickets cost €3 (€1,5 concessions – schoolchildren, students, seniors, people with disabilities). Tickets can be purchased at “Tiketa” sales points in person and online. Tickets won’t be available to purchase at the event venue.
The Common People screening series aims to discuss not only the content of documentary films, but also the whole notion of documentary cinema. The series addresses questions of ethics, directorial decisions. To film or not to film? When does a director cross the line of closeness with their subject? Should documentary cinema reflect ‘reality’ or the vision of its creator? These questions and others are raised and discussed by looking at films who maintain a close look at people telling their own stories: sensitive, creative, eccentric and based somewhere in the margins.
The project is curated by Karolis Žukas (Kitas Kinas) and Edvinas Grinkevičius (Kaunas Artists’ House).
Visual identity: Eglė Simonavičiūtė.
The project is financed by the Lithuanian Film Center, organised by Kaunas Artists’ House. Partners: platform Kitas Kinas, Kaunas Culture Center, Kaunas Deaf Rehabilitation Centre.