Faya Dayi (2021)

  • New Directors/New Films
  • 2h 0m
  • Ethiopia, USA

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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, she 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.

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Jessica Beshir


Amharic, Harari, Oromiffa



Bonus Content

New Directors/New Films 2021 Trailer
Faya Dayi Q&A

A conversation with director Jessica Beshir moderated by MoMA film programmer Josh Siegel.

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