Faya Dayi

  • 120'
  • Ethiopia
  • 2021

“Why did you come back?” a boy asks his slightly older friend. “For my mother”, the teenager replies. He reflects that he could be in Egypt now, or even further away – a costly, hazardous journey. Many Ethiopians take a different means of escape. They chew the stimulating leaves of the khat plant – now Ethiopia’s most lucrative agricultural product, having overtaken coffee.

For some ten years, Jessica Beshir regularly returned from New York to the part of Ethiopia where she was born. Shot in rich, poetic black and white, her debut feature-length film unfolds in layers of impression, eschewing traditional documentary techniques. Faya Dayi not only shows what they do, but manages to capture their experience of life, switching smoothly between the khat industry, intimate meetings and reflections, warmth and tragedy, spirituality, an ancient khat myth and stories of repression and resistance. And, above all, the dreams of youth.

Director
Jessica Beshir
Countries of production
Ethiopia, USA, Qatar
Production Year
2021
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
120'
Medium
DCP
Language
Oromo
Producer
Jessica Beshir
Sales
Cinetic Media
Screenplay
Jessica Beshir
Cinematography
Jessica Beshir
Editor
Jeanne Applegate, Dustin Waldman
Production Design
Jessica Beshir
Sound Design
Tom Efinger
Music
William Basinski, Adrian Aniol, Mehandis Geleto, Kaethe Hostetter
Website
www.fayadayi.com