FAYA DAYI: Ethiopian Arthouse Cinema
March 22 at 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm$5 – $15
Enter a hypnotic spiritual immersion in Harar, Ethiopia, where khat, a euphoria-inducing plant holds sway over the rituals and rhythms of everyday life. The film experience will be followed by a Q&A with director Jessica Beshir and a feast of Ethiopian & Eritrean cuisine by A Taste Of Abyssinia!
FAYI DAYI (2021, 120 mins). A sublime work of personal vision, the debut feature by the Mexican Ethiopian filmmaker Jessica Beshir is a hypnotic documentary immersion in the world of Ethiopia’s Oromo and Harari communities, places where one commodity—khat, a euphoria-inducing plant once prized for its supposedly mystical properties—holds sway over the rituals and rhythms of everyday life. As if under the influence of the drug itself, Faya dayi unfurls as intoxicating, trance-state cinema, capturing intimate moments in the existence of everyone from the harvesters of the crop to people lost in its narcotic haze to a desperate but determined younger generation searching for an escape from the region’s political strife. The director’s exquisite monochrome cinematography—each frame a masterpiece sculpted from light and shadow—and the film’s time-bending, elliptical editing create a ravishing sensory experience that hovers between consciousness and dreaming.
Doors for the screening open at 5pm, Film begins at 5:15pm, The Networking Dinner Party by A Taste of Abyssinia will be held at 7:30pm. Free entry to the dinner and film for participants of the GRRLS TO THE FRONT workshops at The Stone Church! Please register in advance as spaces are limited. The Mission of GRRLS TO THE FRONT is to create access an opportunity for women and non-binary people in the music industry. To celebrate their accomplishments. To amplify their voices & To connect them with resources and each other. This series was made possible by support from The Vermont Women’s Fund.
“Like smoky tendrils from a tray of incense, Faya dayi unfurls in a languorous haze. The film is a portal into a woven dream of partial remembrance, timeless mythic cycles, and the present urgencies of migration and the climate crisis.” -Criterion
“Emotional, mystical, and abstract, Faya Dayi grants viewers entry into the many rituals of khat. It’s a tribute to land kinship, as well as those who have lost it, and the youth who embark on risky voyages from the land in the hope of better lives.” – Natasha Ruwona, Hyperallergic
“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.” – Museum of the Moving Image