Faya Dayi

(Ethiopia/Qatar/2021—directed by Jessica Beshir)

Ten years in the making, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir’s hypnotic documentary feature debut 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 documentary about drug culture.

Rather, she has constructed something sublimely dreamlike, which could rightly be called a work of trance-state cinema: 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 yet glossed-over tales of migration. Official Selection, Sundance and New Directors/ New Films 2021; Grand Jury Prize, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2021. In Amharic, Harari, and Oromo with English subtitles. (120 minutes)

"A poetic and haunting documentary-fiction fusion."- Amy Taubin, Artforum



Click the "tickets" button or call the DFT Box Office at 313.833.4005 to purchase tickets.




The Detroit Film Theatre is generously supported by Buddy's Pizza and your tri-county millage investment in the DIA.