Faya Dayi
Still from Jessica Beshir's Faya Dayi

Faya Dayi

classified 12A S

Please note: This was screened in June 2022

Jessica Beshir
Murano Mlbb, Kawa Sherif, Salih Sigirci
120 mins, Subtitled, 2022, Ethiopia
Primary language

Ethiopian-Mexican director and cinematographer Jessica Beshir's hypnotic feature debut meditates on the legend of the almighty khat - a stimulant leaf and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop - discovered by Sufi Imams in search of eternity.

Weaving a tapestry of intimate stories of people caught between violent government repression, khat-induced fantasies and treacherous journeys beyond their borders, the film’s sensory approach brings audiences a documentary that is both dreamlike and spiritual.

Neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented documentary about drug culture, Faya Dayi is instead something surreal: a film that uses light, texture, and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for tabloid tales of migration.