About Faya Dayi

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In her hypnotic documentary feature, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents. Though a deeply personal project—Beshir was forced to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife—the film she returned to make about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers, and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) is neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented doc about a particular drug culture. Rather, Beshir has constructed something dreamlike: a film that uses light, texture, and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration. In Amharic with English subtitles.


“Filmed in luminous black and white, each image more beautiful than the last, Faya Dayi is not your typical documentary.” – Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

“A nonfiction work of sensory immersion that's part anthropology, part poetry.” – Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“Unlike any other documentary you're likely to see.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

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